IF Conservative MP Bill Wiggin read the Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme he might have a better understanding of the issue (MP speaks out against ID cards, February 22). The plan was published in December and is available at www.ips.gov.uk.

Identity fraud is a real and growing threat, and we know that it enables other crimes - including terrorism, benefit fraud, illegal immigration and human trafficking. The scheme, by linking unique biometric data to a secure database with strict rules outlining its use, will give UK residents a means of confirming identity while protecting their personal information from abuse. Recent research shows that the majority of people see compulsory ID cards as a price worth paying for security.

Once in operation the scheme will be self-funding through fee income. In any case 70% of the costs of the scheme will have to be spent upgrading our passports as part of the global move to increase passport security and incorporate biometrics. There is no pot of money' which could be spent on other things. It is vital that we do this work now to stay ahead of the increasingly sophisticated methods used by fraudsters and forgers. In addition, the scheme will allow individuals, business, and the state to prove identity more conveniently and efficiently.

I have yet to hear any of the critics of the scheme put forward their plans to combat identity fraud and prevent abuse of our taxpayer funded public services. I am not holding my breath.

Joan Ryan MP, Home Office Minister, Marsham Street, London.