|Everyone in Britain will have to pay around £25 for a compulsory identity card under proposals being put to the cabinet by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary.
The "smart" card will identify the holder using iris-recognition technology. Failure to carry the card will not be an offence but police will be able to order people to present it at a police station.
The charge is aimed at overcoming resistance to the scheme from the Treasury. Until now Cabinet support for a national compulsory identity card has been outweighed by the Treasury, which has objected to footing the estimated £1.6 billion bill.
While forcing people to pay for the card could add to the anticipated objections from human rights campaigners, Mr Blunkett believes that concern about national security is sufficient to ensure that individuals will be prepared to bear the cost.