Identity cards will be on sale to the public in Greater Manchester from 30 November and will cost £30 under a pilot scheme announced this week.
The government’s identity minister Meg Hellier said that the cards – which are no longer compulsory – are a useful method of proving identity and are a cheaper alternative to passports, currently priced £77.50, when travelling in Europe.
Fewer than 2,000 people have so far applied to receive an ID card under the pilot scheme.
The government hopes to make the cards generally available by 2012. They are already available civil servants and government contract workers.
However, the Conservative party reiterated its intention to abolish the ID card scheme, which has an estimated total price tag for £5.4 billion, if in power.