My hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Alison Seabeck) raised the issue of identity fraud. She is entirely correct. In 2004, an average of 50,000 people in the UK were victims of impersonation fraud. On average, it takes each victim 60 hours to resolve their case and clear their name. ID cards will make it more difficult to perpetrate identity theft and the high-quality verification service will reduce the time that it takes to deal with the damage. The British Bankers Association has stated that general banking losses due to identity fraud amount to £50 million. Those are substantial issues and show that the card will be of benefit to the individual.
Charles Clarke, Home Secretary – 28 June 2005, Identity Cards Bill, Second Reading
Perhaps in the past the government in its enthusiasm oversold the advantages of identity cards. We did suggest, or at least implied, that they may well be a panacea for identity fraud, benefit fraud, terrorism, and entitlement and access to public services … I think, maybe in the past, we were offering the system as a panacea to all these ills when it will help and benefit each one but is not going to solve any one of them.
Tony McNulty, Home Office Minister – 18 July 2005, Fabian Society Policy Seminar “Will ID cards make us more secure?”
Let me reassert the benefits of the scheme. First, ID cards will help to tackle identity fraud, which now costs the UK economy and society more than £1.3 billion a year.
Charles Clarke, Home Secretary – 18 October 2005, Identity Cards Bill, Third Reading
Need I say more?