Jobs boom in Fareham on the cards as post-Brexit passport deal is awarded to foreign firm

HMS Duncan departs Portsmouth for deployment. Picture: Crown Copyright

HMS Duncan set to return to Portsmouth this afternoon 

  • Fareham council chief says the announcement could be ‘good news’ for the town
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UP TO 70 jobs could be created in Fareham after a printing firm abandoned its battle against the government to make Britain’s post-Brexit blue passports.

Hampshire-based De La Rue has announced it will not appeal the government’s decision to award the contract for producing British passports to a an Amsterdam-based company.

The original British blue passport, left, and the current burgundy one, right.

The original British blue passport, left, and the current burgundy one, right.

The company had urged the Home Office for an extension to the deadline for awarding the contract after it emerged the frontrunner for the job was Gemalto, a Franco-Dutch firm.

Gemalto has a number of factories in the UK and is expected to use its Fareham site to print some of Britain’s new passports, bringing with it the prospect of 70 new jobs.

It comes after a statement released by De La Rue this morning, in which the banknote and security printing company said it was dropping its fight after ‘having considered all options’.

The news has been welcomed by Fareham Borough Council boss, Councillor Sean Woodward.

He said: ‘This will most definitely be a good thing for Fareham.

‘Obviously everyone felt sorry for De La Rue not getting the contract.

‘It’s an old saying that an ill-wind does nobody any good. But it’s good news for Fareham.’

De La Rue, which has its HQ in Basingstoke, also issued a profit warning, saying annual operating income would now be around £60m to £65m.

The firm blamed £4m in costs for tendering to continue making UK passports, as well as delays in other contracts.

A spokesman said: ‘As we initially announced, we have looked at all possible avenues open to us, and thoroughly evaluated all our options.

‘Following four weeks of intense consideration and clear legal advice, we have taken the decision not to challenge the award of the UK passport contract.

‘We have been advised that the grounds for overturning the decision are insufficiently strong to justify continuing this course of action.’

He added: ‘We remain both surprised and disappointed by the decision of Her Majesty’s Passport Office to award the contract to a competitor. We believe De La Rue submitted the highest quality and technically most secure bid.’

Cllr Woodward added there would be ‘no issue’ in Gemalto bringing the jobs to the town.

Britain’s current burgundy passport, in use since 1988, will revert to its original blue and gold colour from October 2019.