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The noble Earl, Lord Northesk, talked about the figure of 95 million ID cards. There are 96.7 million passports and identity cards; many may opt for both. I am talking about issues of those places such as France and Germany where they are used. The numbers also need to account for replacement cards, lost cards and changes of name. That is the sort of number of applications that is going through.
As for the remote video links, the video interview service started this year and will still be in place to conduct interviews to help to verify identify for passports. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, asked what documents would be designated; no document can be designated without the approval of both Houses of Parliament. The Government are considering designating passports and immigration documents, but not in the immediate future.
The noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, asked when we were bringing forward regulations about the over-75s. We are looking at options that could allow those aged over 75 to receive ID cards free of charge, but that will not form part of the initial few months of the rollout. However, it is being looked at and in due course a further set of fees regulations may be laid before the House to submit proposals for parliamentary approval.
The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, touched on why the individual does not have the power to edit his audit trail. There is a statutory requirement to record any instance when information from an individual has been recorded on the register, which will be provided only to prescribed government departments or those named in the Act for the prevention and detection of serious crime. The power to edit a record may undermine those law enforcement efforts.
I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, is supporting the ship-building industry. He asked what a legal name was. For the purposes of identity assurance, it is important that each person has a name used for official purposes; an individual can choose that name but the national identity register will lock that name to a set of biometrics, including fingerprints. That means that a person cannot have multiple identities or assume the identity of another person. The point was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, about being able to change biometrics. We believe that it is impossible to change the biometrics on the card. We would know that it had been done, but even if it was not detected and the person who had the card had a false identity, he would certainly have no other identity or we would know that he was trying to have one.
The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, also talked about a name on a card. I can reassure him that there will be a space on the reverse of the identity card for titles or any other name legitimately used by the holder.
Earl Ferrers: My Lords, the Minister says that the name will be on the reverse of the identity card. In other words, on the front of the card will be the
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The noble Earl, Lord Northesk, asked why we were giving ID cards free to airside workers but not to the general public. The identity cards for airside workers will be issued at no cost for the first 18 months, while we evaluate the cards at Manchester and London City airports. We believe that there are valuable benefits to be gained by issuing the cards; as I have said, they will provide a single, consistent means of proving identity. We believe that waiving the fee will enable us to evaluate the benefits that the cards bring. These process improvements will also benefit the rest of the aviation industry.
The Earl of Northesk: My Lords, I apologise to the Minister, but would he confirm that in the first instance the fees will be exempt simply for airside workers at Manchester and London City airports, rather than across the piece?
I have quite a large number of other answers here. I think that maybe the best thing would be for me to look at these with the Box and write individually to those involved. Time is marching on and we might slip well beyond the first watch.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, will the Minister kindly answer my fundamental point? If we have a perfectly good voluntary system of passports, which has its own database that is being developed to be more efficient and effective with biometrics and so on, why do we also need a voluntary system of identity cards with a new database? It is a very simple question.
Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, these are cheaper and handier to carry. My youngsters have now grown up, but when they were in their mid-teens I would much rather that they had had an identity card each. They can easily tell someone that they have lost them by phoning through. We cannot yet do that with passports; maybe in the future we will be able to. I think that there is a huge utility to them. I will have no difficulty in having one. It will be jolly useful and I look forward to having it in my wallet. I think that there will be an awful lot of people who will want to do that and will find them extremely useful.
Perhaps I may write to individuals. I believe that these five draft statutory instruments are essential for the introduction of the card. I believe that having the card is a good thing, that it will be very useful for people and that in time we will look back on this and think, "My goodness, why was there all this fuss?". Research has shown a consistent level of public support for this-60 per cent. I therefore commend these statutory
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That this House regrets the Government's decision to proceed with the draft Identity Cards Act 2006 (Information and Code of Practice on Penalties) Order 2009, the draft Identity Cards Act 2006 (Provision of Information without Consent) Regulations 2009, the draft Identity Cards Act 2006 (Fees) Regulations 2009, the draft Identity Cards Act 2006 (Prescribed Information) Regulations 2009 and the draft Identity Cards Act 2006 (Application and Issue of ID Card and Notification of Changes) Regulations 2009 before the case for continued investment in the identity cards project has been put to the British people at a general election. 19th Report from the Merits Committee.
Baroness Hanham: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper, which regrets the Government's intention to implement these instruments. I believe that they should not be implemented and I therefore beg to test the opinion of the House.
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7th Report from the Delegated Powers Committee
8th Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights
16th Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights
(a) to issue guidance to sentencers, having particular regard to the effectiveness of each form of sentence in reducing re-offending;
(b) to gather and provide information and statistics for monitoring-
(i) compliance with sentencing guidance, planning and policy development; and
(ii) the attitudes of sentencers and the public to the guidelines; and
(c) to inform, consult and engage with the public on penal issues."
Baroness Linklater of Butterstone: Having not yet spoken on this Bill and not having been present earlier due to my flight being delayed, I hope that the Committee will bear with my saying for the record how desperately sad and sorry we are at the loss of Lord Kingsland. He is a huge loss to this House. I admired him hugely for his expertise, knowledge and skill. I will also miss him very much as a friend.
We have reached Part 4, a small but none the less very important part of the Bill concerning the sentencing council. I will speak to the four amendments in this group collectively. Amendment 187A states what the overarching purposes of the sentencing council should be. This is a very important and necessary part of the process of defining and giving a framework and context to the role of the new sentencing council proposed in the Bill. The aim of the amendment is to clarify what the council is for, what it is meant to achieve and how this will be arrived at.
I welcome these proposals, albeit with some important amendments which I hope will commend themselves to the Government. I see them as representing an opportunity to take forward through the council the delivery of criminal justice in this country in an improved and perhaps more creative way. No body or organisation takes decisions in a vacuum. This is as true for sentencers as for anyone else. Their job is extraordinarily difficult, hugely important as their decisions can change lives, and is often a lonely one. Knowledge of the law, skill and experience are the tools, but it is now generally accepted that it is necessary for there to be a broad framework within which sentencers of all descriptions interpret the law as laid down by Parliament before making their decisions according to the facts of the cases before them.
The exponential rise in the use of custody to unacceptable levels over the past 10 years or so against a background of falling crime rates and virtually unchanged numbers of people being sentenced by the courts has led to the need for a strategy to address the problems of prison overuse and sentencing disparity. Almost most important of all, it is the issue of public perceptions of and lack of confidence in our criminal justice system, as represented by the sentencing decisions being made, that must be addressed.
I suggest that the council should have three distinct functions. They follow a model drawn up originally in New Zealand but which never left the drawing board as a new Government came in. Now it has been developed in a report for the Prison Reform Trust by Mike Hough and Jessica Jacobson, on which this amendment is based. The three functions of the council are set out in the amendment and would achieve two key objectives. The first is greater consistency and stability in sentencing practice, thereby ideally preventing any further upward drift in sentencing severity. The second is to reduce the politicisation of sentencing policy and practice. These objectives are interdependent because the stability of sentencing practice depends on the reduction in the temperature of political and public debate on sentencing, which would in turn relieve pressure on the courts.
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