To: Alan Powell, Editor, The Star
James Hall is wrong to claim ID cards will be voluntary (Letters, 10 June).
Sheffield residents won’t be forced onto the National Identity Register directly, unless they’re from outside the European Economic Area, however the Government intends to make it impossible for us to live without an ID card.
Compulsion will start with “critical workers” [PDF] in industries such as transport, energy and the emergency services. Next they plan to make registration a condition of applying for a passport. Students are a third group who will be targeted early.
Before long we’ll be unable to start a new job, open a bank account or make a high-value purchase without a check against the register, which may also tip off the tax man about our spending habits. The same will apply if we have to claim benefits. Nothing Mr. Hall says reassures me that we won’t be asked to surrender to the scheme before voting or seeking NHS treatment. Registration is for life and the penalties for non-compliance include £1000 fines and prison sentences.
The government presents ID cards as a Hobson’s choice: comply or they will withhold our access to public services and deprive us of our livelihoods. That doesn’t sound very voluntary to me.
I’m grateful that Sheffield City Council has stood up for freedom and our right to a private life by speaking out against this scheme. ID cards and the sinister database behind them should be scrapped.