De La Rue, the company which prints all British bank notes, has won a ten year contract to make biometric passports.
The £400m deal is the largest so far handed out as part of the introduction of ID cards and upgraded passports.
The new ID documents will include the ability to store fingerprints as well as other security features such as watermarks and "enhanced security features". The passport will also include what the press release describes as "a chip antenna", which we assume is an RFID chip.
The Home Office has already handed out contracts worth £385m to CSC to provide an application and enrolment system for ID card requests and IBM got £265m to create a secure database of fingerprints and facial biometrics.
De La Rue was chosen from a shortlist of 20 bidders.
The National Identity Service reckons the whole deal will cost £4.9bn over ten years.
Press release is here.
The Tories have pledged to abandon the national ID card scheme but it is likely that the central database and passports will survive. ®