HC Deb 06 December 1945 vol 416 cc2496-8
5. Colonel Erroll

asked the Minister of Health if he will state all the purposes for which it is desired to retain civilian identity cards at the present time.

The Minister of Health (Mr.Bevan)

As the answer is rather long I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Colonel Erroll

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider reducing the number of uses for civilian identity cards as soon as possible, as there is a great deal of public concern on the matter?

Mr. Bevan

Perhaps it will be best for the hon. and gallant Member to read my reply.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Is the Minister aware that the retention of these identity cards is strongly resented; and will the right hon. Gentleman provide other methods, so that they will not be necessary?

Mr. Bevan

The hon. and gallant Member should be very well aware that these methods areas distasteful to me as they are to him. They will be discontinued immediately they are no longer of any use.

Following is the answer::

The civilian identity card is an integral and essential part of the system of National Registration established by the National Registration Act, 1939. That Act will come up for review in due course and I am not in a position to anticipate what proposals in regard to it the Government will submit to Parliament. At the present time the National Register is the sole source of the material from which the civilian electoral registers for Parliamentary and local government purposes are compiled and it is proposed to continue that arrangement pending the report of a Committee on electoral matters, the setting up of which was announced recently by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs.

The National Register also renders valuable services to the Minstry of Food and the Board of Trade in connection with rationing of food and clothing, and to the Ministry of Labour in connection with the administration of National Ser vice (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, and the Registration of Employment Order, 1941. Considerable use will also be made of the National Register for the purpose of bringing into operation the new scheme of children's allowances. The register has also proved valuable in re-uniting families which had been separated owing to evacuation and other incidents, for the purpose of tracing individuals whose claims under the War Damage Act, 1941, have not been satisfied owing to their whereabouts being unknown, and in various other ways of benefit to the individual concerned.