Government undermines UK manufacturing in passport farce
I share the dismay of all those who have contacted me about the government’s decision to award the manufacture of the UK’s passport to French-Dutch firm Gemalto rather than British based De La Rue.
The decision compromises security as well as risking jobs at places such as De La Rue’s Gateshead factory. To many, this decision is simply farcical. The government are trying to blame EU procurement rules, however, this choice has nothing to do with the EU.
De La Rue does not have the same opportunities. They have no opportunity to bid for a French passport contract. French passports are produced by state-run printing firm Imprimerie Nationale, as the French government have made the decision not to put the jobs out to tender, as allowed under EU rules.
This is not an isolated incident. Time and again basic services vital to our national security and economy are compromised by privatisation and outsourcing; passports, energy and transport to name but a few.
The choice is simple.
The Conservative Party will always prioritise privatisation and outsourcing, as it supports the people they represented. The press report that BlackRock, a fund that pays former Tory Chancellor £650,000 a year, holds a 2.67% stake in Gemalto.
Alternatively, Labour believes the priority of public services is how they serve the public. Any right minded government would prioritise security, jobs and the economy rather than compromise as the Conservative government are proposing to do.
I can assure you, I will be campaigning to protect the British passport and supporting jobs in our region.