British identity cards will be covered in EU symbols

Matthew Hickley
UK Daily Mail
Friday, Sept 26, 2008

Britain's first identity card in more than half a century was unveiled yesterday - and turned out to be covered in EU symbols to satisfy Brussels.

The plastic card, which will be issued to foreign citizens in Britain starting in November, marks the first stage in the Government's ambitious scheme to issue biometric ID cards to all UK residents at a cost of billions of pounds.

But serious questions remain over whether the system will work or bring any practical benefits, and doubts were underlined yesterday as the Conservatives pledged to scrap the entire venture if they win the next General Election.

Foreigners issued with the cards will not have to show them to get a job or use services such as the NHS and schools, and it remains unclear if or when public services or private firms will install computerised scanners to make use of the costly biometric technology.

The card revealed by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday features a picture of a bull above EU- style golden stars, while the coloured background is made up of hundreds of tiny letters spelling 'EU'. The bull is a European Union symbol drawn from Greek mythology.

Last night the Home Office admitted that British ID cards had to follow a common design as set out in a Brussels directive to ensure that every card issued by EU states looks similar.

Each card, which will cost £30, carries unique biometric data in the form of a photograph and the individual's fingerprints stored digitally.


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