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Plan for UK ID cards loses popularity

Plans to introduce identity cards in the UK have suffered a serious setback with the publication of a poll that discovered increased public opposition to the scheme. Ministers argue that the measure is essential to combat identity fraud, terrorism and fraudulent use of public services. They have also insisted that a clear majority of voters back it.

The ID cards are expected to cost around GBP 5.8 billion.

The number of voters backing the move has decreased from more than 80 percent to 55 percent in six months, according to the survey of 1,010 voters by ICM Research released yesterday. The number of opponents has more than doubled to 43 percent.

The poll came two weeks after the Government reintroduced the ID Cards Bill, which it had to put aside as time ran out before the last election.

Anti-ID card campaigners have argued that support for the cards would haemorrhage once the cost and civil liberties implications became better known.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Research we have carried out indicates a far higher majority of the public are in favour."