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Post offices to issue passports and ID cards

Smith: "ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone”

Post offices and pharmacies could act as enrolment centres for the Government’s ID card scheme, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said.

Anyone who wants an identity card or biometric passport would go to their local post office or pharmacy to have their fingerprints read and stored along with a face scan.

The card will cost £30 and the shops will charge another £30 to collect the data, which will be stored on a Government database.

Residents of Greater Manchester will be the first British citizens able to apply for a voluntary ID card from late 2009.

Anyone who wants a card can sign up for information alerts at direct.gov.uk.

Ms Smith is meeting Post Office managers and pharmacy trade groups to discuss the plans.

The companies interested in working with us to deliver the service will play a key role in ensuring the public can apply for an ID card or passport simply and easily," she said.

"While private companies will clearly benefit from the increased footfall from offering this service, their customers will benefit from being able to quickly provide their biometrics while they are out doing the shopping.

"With an identity card, people will be able to prove their identity quickly and conveniently while helping to protect themselves against identity fraud.

"ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists," Ms Smith commented.

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