ID Card Trials Struggle on Take Off

Recent media reports suggest that the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), which represents more than 80% of commercial airline pilots, is considering a legal challenge to Home Office plans to use critical airside workers as the first compulsory guinea pigs in trials of the national identity card scheme. MPs are shortly to be asked to approve powers which could be used to compel pilots and other individuals who work airside to register for the national ID card scheme as part of their pre-employment checks. Balpa, which has been objecting to the proposed trial arrangements since late 2008,  has raised concerns about the compulsory nature of the current proposed arrangements. It has also asserted that ID cards will have absolutely no value so far as security is concerned. Meanwhile, speculation that the Government may look to axe the ID card scheme in the wake of the economic downturn has been dampened by an announcement in early April 2009 that the Government had recently signed two ten year contracts worth £650 million to get the scheme under way.