Identity Cards

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11th January 2005.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Secretary of State for Scotland, The Secretary of State for Transport 11:30 am, 11th January 2005

Of course, thanks to the money that we have made available to Scotland, because of the economic prosperity that has been built up over the past seven years there are more policemen in Scotland. There are also more teachers, nurses and doctors. So as far as public services are concerned, we can provide that.

In relation to identity cards, the fact that the hon. Gentleman disagrees with me comes as no surprise. It is hardly news that it may be necessary to have an ID card to access benefits, for example, in Scotland in future. Does he say that there is anything wrong with asking someone on benefits to identify themselves? The Scottish Executive have made it clear, however, that they do not propose to require the use of ID cards for accessing the NHS in Scotland. That is an entirely proper decision for them to take. However, I repeat the point: what is wrong in principle with people identifying themselves so that others are satisfied they are entitled to use services? I defy him to answer that. I see nothing wrong with that in principle and cannot for the life of me understand why he takes such a ridiculous attitude.