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Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 23:34 GMT 00:34 UK
Passport cost to increase by 29%
British passport
The passports provide 'enhanced' security measures
The fee for a new adult 10-year passport is to increase by 29% from October, from 51 to 66.

The Home Office said the new passport - dubbed the ePassport - would be the "most secure ever produced by the UK".

The "biometric" passport contains a chip storing a scan of their photograph and other personal details.

The Conservatives criticised the price rise and said the government was using it as a way of raising money for any future ID scheme.

Both the Tories and the Lib Dems oppose the ID cards scheme.

ePassport costs around the world
New Zealand: 123
Switzerland: 109
Belgium: 96
Norway: 87
Iceland: 81
USA: 54
France: 41

More than a million have already been issued, but from the end of the summer all new British passports will contain the security features.

A child's passport is to increase from 34 to 45.

The fees for fast-track and premium service passports are also increasing, with the premium service costing 108.

Anti-fraud

The latest price increase is the second of two rises to pay for upgrading passports to international standards and introducing anti-fraud measures.

These included "enhanced background checks" on applicants and preparations for face-to-face interviews for first-time adult passport applicants.

Biometric technology makes it possible to distinguish individuals by their unique features. Facial recognition works by mapping features such as the distances between eyes, nose mouth and ears.

Home Office minister Joan Ryan said: "Passport production is paid for through the passport fee.

There is a cost to the anti-fraud measures that we are introducing, but we are clear that it is a price that must be paid to protect the integrity of our travel documents and improve the security of our borders
Joan Ryan
Home Office minister

"There is a cost to the anti-fraud measures that we are introducing, but we are clear that it is a price that must be paid to protect the integrity of our travel documents and improve the security of our borders."

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "The home secretary likes to brag about customer satisfaction with the UK passport agency.

"This first instalment of the plastic poll tax that is the identity card system will completely undermine that."

Anyone requesting a new passports from 2008 will have their details stored on the National Identity Database.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Why the Passport Service have increased the price



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