– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1945.
asked the Minister of Health what is his estimate of the number of identity cards lost in Britain every year; what proportion is found by the owners; and what proportion is established as having been destroyed.
During the last 12 months 290,000 applications (equivalent to an average monthly rate of about 24,000 or under.1 per cent, of the corresponding registered population) have been made in England and Wales for the replacement of lost or destroyed identity cards. These include all cases due to enemy action. It is impossible to verify the actual loss or destruction of the original identity card; but action is taken upon replacement which renders it invalid and leads in many cases to the detection of its illicit use.
Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman considered the report in the "Daily Express" last week that two million of these cards were lost per year?
asked the Minister of Health what steps are taken to check the possession of identity cards by all persons in this country; what estimate has been formed of the number of persons who contrive to live without identity cards or with forged or stolen ones; and what further action is proposed to prevent these irregularities.
The possession of identity cards by persons in this country who are required to hold them is in fact ensured by the duty to produce them on the annual reissue of ration books, and on notice of removal, change of retailers and other occasions. With reference to the second part of the Question, it has been estimated, on the basis of figures obtained in 1943, that the aggregate in England and Wales of registered persons seeking to evade their liabilities by an "underground" method of life in negligible. No identity cards are in any circumstances issued to deserters; and the National Register administration is not concerned with them except so far as they commit offences in the illegal use of identity cards which bring them within range of the tests and checks applicable to registered persons. In reply to the last part of the Question, while the safeguards mentioned are effective within their range, I do not think that any administrative machinery could eliminate the kind of irregularities to which my hon. Friend alludes.
Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman also seen the report in the same paper that there were 500,000 of the population per year who did not have identity cards, or who had false ones?
I will send the right hon. and learned Gentleman a copy of the paper.