Students will be “blackmailed” into holding identity cards in order to apply for student loans, the Tories have warned.
According to Home Office documents leaked to the Conservative party last night, those applying for student loans will be forced to hold identity cards to get the funding from 2010.
Anyone aged 16 or over will be expected to obtain a card – costing up to £100 – to open a bank account or apply for a student loan.
The document says: “We should issue ID cards to young people to assist them as they open their first bank account, take out a student loan, etc.”
The government had planned to start issuing the ID cards to people applying for a passport from 2010, but confidential documents confirm that the scheme will be delayed to at least 2012.
The biometric cards are due to be introduced for foreign nationals later this year, with the first expected to be issued to UK citizens on a voluntary basis from 2009.
From next year, they will also be issued to people in “positions of trust” such as airport workers.
The revelations have led to concerns that the government is planning to collect the fingerprints and other biometric details of more than two million young people entering higher education each year by stealth.
Shadow immigration minister Damian Green called the plans “straightforward blackmail” to bolster “a failing policy”.
“This is an outrageous plan. The government has seen its ID cards proposals stagger from shambles to shambles. They are clearly trying to introduce them by stealth.”