ALTHOUGH it appears coincidental that the current contract to print British passports, which currently rests with British company De La Rue, will expire in 2019, many are celebrating in the assumption that the new tender will include a return to a blue cover.
Reports suggest that it could cost up to £500 million (€575 million) to redesign the passport, but it is more likely that this will be the anticipated total cost of the production of up to six million passports a year during the life of the 10 year contract.
If this is the case, then each passport would cost about £8.50 (€9.75) which considering the current charge for a new passport is £72.50 (€83.40) for adults and £46 (€53) for children suggests that any change won’t cost the UK a fortune.
On the side of the Brexiteers, MP Andrew Rosindell MP is quoted as saying “The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over” whilst Jeremy Corbyn suggested that “The real source of humiliation is a Government worrying about the colour of our passports while a social care and NHS crisis rages.”
One side effect however is that under EU rules, any tender of this type has to be advertised within the European Union and a situation could arise in this ‘Brave New World’ that the return to the traditional blue passport could actually see the contract going to a printer based in one of the EU states.
Whatever the decision, it seems unlikely that holders of the red passport which carries the wording European Union on the cover will have to trade them in until they expire.