London’s young residents to get identity cards

January 25th, 2010 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, Jan 25 (IANS) Young residents of London are being offered identity cards aimed at easing travel across Europe and purchase of age-restricted goods such as alcohol, the British government announced Monday.

People aged 16 to 24 and living in the British capital will be able to apply for the National Identity Cards from Feb 8 following a successful pilot project in the city of Manchester and other parts of northwest England.

The identity cards, which will cost 30 pounds each, can be used in place of passports when people are travelling within Europe, and to buy alcohol, computer games and DVDs or gain entry into the cinema or a club in London.

“Young peopleĀ… know how important it is to have a recognised proof of identity which is easy to carry,” the British home ministry said.

Research by the government’s Identity and Passport Service shows that over half of lost and stolen passports in Britain belong to people under 30, and a tenth of those are lost by people using them as ID on a night out.

Meg Hillier, the home office minister responsible for identity cards, said the ID cards will prove “an extremely useful tool for young people in London, whether they are opening a bank account, buying age-restricted goods such as computer games or DVDs, entering a nightclub or travelling to Europe.”

Richard Hurley of Britain’s Fraud Prevention Service added: “In time, when everyone has a National Identity Card, it may well become the ‘Gold Standard’ for establishing an individual’s identity.

“It may eventually replace all other documents for this purpose, and be relied upon as the sole proof of identity, but this will depend on the level of public and corporate confidence in the National Identity Card,” he added.

The minimum age for buying alcohol in Britain is 18.

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