The much criticised ID cards scheme is finally dead and buried after the government revealed on Friday that any cards issued can no longer be used to travel within Europe or prove the holder's identity.
A statement on the Home Office web site explained that the final nail in the coffin will come "within days" when the National Identity Register, the database designed to hold the card details, will be destroyed.
"Laying ID cards to rest demonstrates the government's commitment to scale back the power of the state and restore civil liberties," said home office minister Damian Green.
"It is about the people having trust in the government to know when it is necessary and appropriate for the state to hold and use personal data, and it is about the government placing its trust in the common-sense and responsible attitude of the people."
The scheme was one of the Labour government's flagship policies following Tony Blair's third election victory in 2005. The Identity Cards Bill received royal assent a year later.
However, despite the Labour government's insistence that the scheme was an essential tool in the war on terror, it was much criticised by business and privacy groups.
Richard Thomas, information commissioner at the time, raised significant data protection concerns, which were heightened when the huge HMRC data breach led to revelations about poor data handling practices by public sector bodies.
Green said in the Commons this week that it will cost the taxpayer £400,000 to destroy all the ID card data and IT systems, although over £80m will be saved over the next four years by scrapping the ill-fated scheme.
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