Biometric passport contract goes to De La Rue


De La Rue has won a 400 million contract to create the next generation of British passports, which will include a chip to hold fingerprint biometrics.

The 10-year contract will see the document and identity firm designing and producing the new e-passports, which were first introduced in 2006.

James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, said the contract showed the government was committed to using fingerprint biometrics in passports. "Upgrading the British passport is essential to keep pace with the most advanced international standards for travel documents and will ensure that British citizens have the freedom to travel easily worldwide," he said in a statement.

Former home secretary David Blunkett has said that the passports could be used instead of identity cards.

The National Identity Service plans which include ID cards, e-passports, and the database to back them up will cost 4.9 billion to deliver over the next decade.