The government expects to have issued 17 million ID cards by 2017, Home Secretary Alan Johnson told the Commons yesterday.
Johnson was responding to a question from his Tory shadow, Chris Grayling, who asked: "What proportion of the estimated 49 million products to be issued between April 2012 and March 2017 ... will be identity cards?"
Johnson replied: "Approximately 49 million products will be issued over the period April 2012 to March 2017 of which we expect approximately 32 million passports and 17 million identity cards."
These wouldn't necessarily all be different IDs, so to speak, with some accounted for by replacements of lost or stolen cards and passports.
Johnson reminded Grayling that people would be able to buy an ID card or passport or both. "As such, the product mix of identity cards and passports depends on a number of factors including: the economic environment; the relative cost of the products to the public; and travel patterns, all of which can vary over time."
Some observers may be amazed that the government expects to issue 17 million ID cards by 2017 - this would account for roughly 28 per cent of the UK population.
The government's own figures show just a trickle of people able to apply for an ID card pursuing the option, with the government itself yet to decide whether to proceed with the roll out of further "enrolment centres".
On the run rates seen in its pilot area of Manchester, it would take at best over a century to get the whole of the population signed up to the scheme.
But as Reg readers have pointed out, by forcing ID exchange into more and more transactions - buying booze, getting into clubs, getting cops to leave you alone - the government appears to be relying putting the squeeze on youngsters and simply grinding down the rest of us. ®