Industry welcomes return of British ID card proposals


Cards could help stamp out illegality. Recruiters have welcomed government promises to introduce ID cards, claiming the move could help stamp out illegality in the industry.

The government dropped the legislation before the general election in the face of criticism that the technology could be abused.

Now the home secretary Charles Clarke is meeting with critics in a bid to re-introduce the legislation.

But recruiters have welcomed the proposals, claiming they will help crack down on illegality.

Jeanette Fitter, director of FW Recruitment in Coventry, said: �If they are going to put a lot of documents on it � such as passport information, birth certificate, National Insurance number, driving licence and so on, I think it would make the recruitment process easier.�

ID cards would also mean candidates would be less able to fool recruitment agencies with bogus paperwork, said Steve Mansell, managing director of Mansell Recruitment Group.

He explained: �I think they are brilliant. There wouldn�t be any of this, �Oh, I have to get my passport� and then candidates going to a less reputable recruitment firm that�s not going to make all of the required checks.�

But Darwin Rhodes CEO Peter Dunphy was more cynical, in the light of previous botched initiatives such as the Criminal Records Bureau. He said the project could be another costly and pointless public-sector �boondoggle�.

He added: �[The proposals are] good news for recruiters that supply those businesses likely to tender for the project.�

Liberal Democrat MPs and Labour backbenchers raised concerns that future governments could use the technology to infringe civil liberties.

Conservative MPs initially backed the legislation, but abstained when it came to a Commons vote, calling on the government to define the purpose of the cards.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said the creation of an ID card database �fundamentally changed� the relationship between the citizen and the state.

Richard Staines

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