Public Fath In ID Card Slumped

Public faith in ID card slumped

The public's faith in ID cards has slumped in the wake of a series of data loss scandals by the Government.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 12:52AM GMT 12 Dec 2008

Those in favour of the card now stand at just 55 per cent after dropping from 60 per cent in August.

At the same time, opposition to the 4.7 billion scheme grew from 24 to 26 per cent in the same period, the Home Office's own polling showed.

In a further blow, the Government is the second least trusted organisation to keep data safe, with only online retailers such as Amazon or eBay generating less confidence.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: “This shows the Government continues to lose the argument on ID cards.

“This is because their project will cost up to 19 billion, will do nothing to make our security better and could make it worse.

“They should abandon it without delay and concentrate their efforts on practical measures that will improve our security like establishing a dedicated UK Border Police Force.”

The study found 42 per cent of those questioned did not think ID cards would disrupt terrorists and 39 per cent didn't believe they would stop illegal immigrants.

But 73 per cent said they would help people working in secure locations prove their identity.

Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of NO2ID said: “This is precisely as we predicted.

“The minute the Home Office starts actually issuing cards and people realise it's going to happen to them the public starts turning against them.

“We are seeing the beginning of the end of ID cards.”

A separate question showed only 32 per cent of people had faith in the Government to handle data, with supermarkets among those scoring better (41 per cent).

However, the specific Home Office agency responsible for the scheme, the Identity and Passport Service, was the most trusted at 63 per cent.

Home Office minister Meg Hillier said: “Our research shows that over the last 18 months, support for the National Identity Scheme has remained high averaging 60 per cent.

“We are committed to carry on the work to communicate the real and recognisable benefits identity cards are starting to bring.

“As part of the National Identity Scheme, identity cards are being introduced and are starting to provide a secure way for people to prove their identity securely and reliably as well as helping to combat immigration abuse, identity fraud and crime, strengthening national security and improving access to public services.

“It's not unusual to find fluctuations when you measure public opinion over a significant period of time.”

TNS interviewed 2,098 people between October 31 and November 4 this year.