Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced that the government’s much talked-about national ID card will cost individuals £30 and will be valid for 10 years.

The card will carry a microchip embedded with biometric details of the holder’s fingerprints and face, and could be made compulsory by 2010. According to Clarke, the £30 charge would help cover the overall cost of the scheme, fund the sum organisations will pay for identity verification services, and take into account the benefits the government and society will receive from its use.

Clarke said: “In the future, the recording of biometrics, such as fingerprints, iris patterns or facial image, means that we will have a much stronger way of linking identity to the person. A national ID card will be a robust, secure way to establish that identities are real, not fabricated.”