Excellent News, Post-Brexit British Passports To Be Made In EU

24
2187

This is just such a joyous story for it’s got something for everything. As we, thankfully, leave the European Union we’ll need a new and different passport design. Back to that blue/black over, as already announced, but still up to date with approved sizes and electronic formats and so on. There’s much chortling at the fact that this contract for the new passports has been let out to an EU based firm:

Taxpayers will save £120m as a result of the decision to have Britain’s blue post-Brexit passports printed abroad, the Guardian has learned.

Government sources say awarding the job to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto will be £120m cheaper over the five years of the contract.

Brexiters have reacted with anger to news that the high-profile job will not go to British firm De La Rue, with the pro-Brexit former cabinet minister Priti Patel calling it “perverse”, while trade unions have warned of potential job losses. But Whitehall sources suggested the decision was a simple question of value for money.

The British firm De La Rue has lost out on the contract to make them, its chief executive confirmed on Thursday morning. It is understood that Gemalto, which is listed on the French and Dutch stock exchanges, won the race for the £490m printing job.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, the chief executive of De La Rue, Martin Sutherland, challenged the prime minister or the home secretary to “come to my factory and explain to my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon”.

Truly, this story does have something for everyone.

It comes after current British manufacturer De La Rue said the contract to manufacture the document, which Brexiteers see as a symbol of the UK’s regained independence, is set to be awarded to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto.

De La Rue boss Martin Sutherland said it was “disappointing and surprising” that his firm was “not allowed to compete” for the contact.

“Now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France,” he said.

It’s the identity which matters, not where the paper is manufactured.

But as I say, something for everyone. Remoaners, never the brightest of people, get to laugh about how we’re getting our symbol of leaving produced by an EU firm. That this isn’t a bright response is obvious – we’re saving £120 million by trading with the EU while still not being part of it. This shows we have to be members of the EU to trade usefully with them, does it?

Then there are the economic realists like myself who get to put the boot into Martin Sutherland. Sorry Marty, no, we’re not going to buy your idea that each and every one of us has to kick in an extra £2 to keep you in the style you wish to become accustomed to. Even if you are waving the flag to try and get us to do so.

But the best argument falls to us Leavers. We’ve not been saying that we don’t want to trade with Europe. Nor that we don’t like Europe or Europeans. We’re simply opposed to the political construct that is the European Union. We’re really very sure indeed that we can continue to visit Europe, cooperate with Europeans, we just don’t want to be ruled by the buggers.

That we can get our passports made by them at a savings to ourselves even as we leave rather proves all of those contentions, doesn’t it?

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
jghSpikeBniCSouthernerBloke in North Dorset Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Steve
Guest
Steve

Nah. This is another unforced Theresa May fail.

As the actress said to the bishop, little things matter. Symbols matter. Irrationally so, perhaps, but that’s human beans for you.

This was an opportunity for the Tories to score a very small, but tangible, Brexit win. So naturally, they put the ball into the back of their own net.

So Much For Subtlety
Guest
So Much For Subtlety

Taxpayers will save £120m as a result of the decision to have Britain’s blue post-Brexit passports printed abroad

No they will not. The Treasury might but if the government did not p!ss this money up against this wall, they will find another one and p!ss it away against that wall.

Was there ever the slightest hope of them giving some of this cash back?

Spike
Member

Well-spotted. Tax rates will be unchanged. If the Treasury cannot find an alternate use for the loot, Parliament certainly will. It is another case of the The-Government-Is-Us laziness.

Spike
Member

I had a girlfriend to whom it seemed like a failure of sovereignty that New Hampshire’s official tourism road maps were printed by a company from Vermont. I showed her that Vermont’s state law books were printed in New Hampshire – somewhat worse, if it mattered.

PS – De La Rue was “not allowed to compete”? They go on in the ITV article to say they were “undercut on price.” Which? Was it sealed-bid? Was it unfair to the British firm not to allow it a do-over after bids were opened?

Nautical Nick
Guest
Nautical Nick

Martin Sutherland needs to explain why it is such a bad thing that our passports be printed somewhere else, when de la Rue print passports for over 40 other countries. How would he explain to his workforce that all those contracts have been returned to their native countries?

OTOH, it seems that France blocks the printing of their passports in a foreign country. Hmmm… is this yet another example of France not following the rules?

Southerner
Guest

Some coffee came out of my nose.

Bloke in North Dorset
Guest
Bloke in North Dorset

Not read the article but as we haven’t left I assume the contract was let under current EU procurement rules so they had no choice

Anyway, the cost of the passport should be paid by those applying for it so why not let people have a choice of paying for a more expensive UK produced passport if they want one?

Spike
Member

And can lesbians opt for a passport produced by womyn? Splitting the contract so that holders can indulge their whims would replicate the set-up costs and overhead and drastically increase the price of all passports. Separately, you need only read the excerpt to see that these are “post-Brexit passports” with blue cover.

Bloke in North Dorset
Guest
Bloke in North Dorset

I’m not convinced the setup costs are that great. The format is ISO so its only the colour and wording that’s different to other country’s passports.

There will be a loss of scale which will increase costs slightly.

What’s wrong with giving people choice, I thought we were all for that?

Spike
Member

I have contracted with printers, and the setup costs are huge, as are the quantity discounts. Setting up the press is almost everything, and letting it continue to run is almost nothing.

Even carmakers, who are in the business of individualizing, require that, if I want Bluetooth, I have to buy the Sport Package and get the tachometer too. No one is in the business of letting me specify in which country the steering wheel is built.

There is nothing wrong with giving people choice. But there is no compelling basis to ask that a third party offer choice.

Rhoda Klapp
Guest
Rhoda Klapp

Passports are a damn good contract, once set up you get repeat business for years. And the customer pays through the nose to get a passport, they don’t give them away.

Bloke in North Dorset
Guest
Bloke in North Dorset

I’ve also had printing done for a business and 20 years ago the set up costs were eye watering, even for business cards. Now its next to nothing as long as you supply the logo in the format they want and tell then what fonts etc to use.

I’me still not convinced the set up costs for an ISO passport are anything other than pennies across the first 1m or so passports.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Whilst agreeing in principle with the notion that we ought to be buying from the least cost supplier, in this instance I have two particular concerns: (1) I don’t believe that the buggers can be trusted not to create extra UK passports that can be used to dump their excess unwanted immigrants on us; and (2) the Franco-Dutch winning bid seems extremely low and therefore, unless De La Rue’s bid was simply a failed attempt at price gouging, this probably implies some form of (2-State) hidden subsidy.

PJF
Guest
PJF

Yes, I wonder if De La Rue took the piss on pricing, assuming the govt. wouldn’t dare let this one go to the EU.

Chester Draws
Guest
Chester Draws

I’d so, the joke’s on them. They would have an unprofitable contract they couldn’t get out of without destroying their reputation.

I don’t think anyone makes half-billion pound bids for a larf.

CJ Nerd
Guest
CJ Nerd

Martin Sutherland seems to think running De La Rue involves a licence to print money.

Spike
Member

(1) Gemalto will presumably be bound to the same security/auditing regime that De La Rue is when it prints foreign currency; printing up a billion dollars for personal use is a bit more serious than sneaking into a country. (2) That two EU members could collude secretly to subsidize their citizens (thereby letting Gemalto underbid other vendors in the Common Market) is a big stretch. They would have done so over something bigger than a prestigious but minor printing contract.

Bernie G.
Guest
Bernie G.

While true it’s another unforced error on the government’s part, De La Rue would be better off by not whining but reminding everyone how many countries outside the UK whose currency and passports they’re printing.

allthegoodnamesaretaken
Guest

“come to my factory and explain to my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon”.

Oh the temptation…

Southerner
Guest

Next thing they’ll let other countries take over manufacturing of British icons like the Mini and Range Rover. This cannot be allowed. (It is whispered that most of the gems in the Queen’s various headdresses came from India. Shocking.)

Paper is the most expensive input of printing. Make that passport or banknote paper and the other costs like platemaking and ink become vanishingly small.

Spike
Member

Before going deeper into hyperbole to understate fixed costs and overstate per-million costs, remember that the reason for this digression was to examine the feasibility of awarding contracts to multiple vendors. So please include the point above about security/auditing as fixed costs. You don’t simply engage the printer on the High Street to print up a couple thousand for the finicky Brits who insist that their British passport be printed in Britain (and with cover leather made without harming any animal, surely). There are few domestic firms other than De La Rue who could show they have done comparable work… Read more »

BniC
Guest
BniC

Contracts should represent value for both sides, if the one bid was exceptionally low that’s a warning sign. Either you’ve missed something and they know they can gouge you for extras or they’ve missed something and will end up losing money and wanting to get out of the contract

Spike
Member

An aside: Though I stand by my assertion (in https://www.continentaltelegraph.com/2018/03/20/taxation-without-representation-versus-the-eu/) that Theresa May views Brexit as a “cliff” Britain is on the edge of and would hate to actually make the jump, it is heartening to see that the Treasury is making plans and pushing paper to make it possible to do business the day after Brexit is achieved – that there is a real cost (which will grow) of reversing course.

jgh
Guest
jgh

Remoaners are clamouring that we should cancel Brexit so that we can stop foreigners competing for our business…. Erm….