Insurers will be hit with a huge surge in identity fraud claims with the introduction of a national identity database, the Conservatives have claimed.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Edward Garnier, said the government was warned by IT experts and academics that the National Identity Register could make identity fraud easier not harder.

He said: "Even government ministers have admitted that it will not be 100% secure. The predicted increase in identity theft will have severe implications for companies and individuals insuring against this type of theft."

The Conservatives fear the proposals will cause a steep rise in identity fraud cases, forcing insurers to pay out large sums of money.

Garnier said: "Conservatives have pledged to scrap the identity card scheme - it's hugely expensive, dangerously insecure and unlikely to assist in reducing identity or benefit fraud and other serious crime, illegal immigration or even terrorism."

Personal information of every aspect of an individual's life will be available to 400,000 Whitehall civil servants and council workers.

The plans would let anyone working for a public body monitor all information, from whether someone has paid their council tax bill to driving licence details, although medical records would be exempt.

Information held by the Department of Work and Pensions, including details of National Insurance numbers, would also be accessible.

Ministers want to see the changes in place by April next year.