Monday, 14 July 2008
The election of the SNP candidate in the Glasgow East by-election John Mason will send a message to the London Government that the threatened loss of 100 jobs at the Glasgow Passport Agency is unacceptable.
Glasgow SNP MSPs have already been campaigning strongly against the UK Government's Identity and Passport Services (IPS) plans to axe over 100 workers at the Glasgow Passport Office and redirect postal applications services to England.
Pledging to raise the issue at Westminster John Mason said: "Over 100 jobs are to be lost in Glasgow and many more throughout the UK as a result of this decision and staff at other centres in the UK are now asking themselves who will be next.
"An SNP victory in this by-election would send the message that these job losses are unacceptable and Scotland wants to keep its passport agency.
"Many people are concerned that they may end up having to travel to England to have their passports renewed and the IPS is unable to issue any assurances that this will not happen.
"The SNP support the retention of these services and that the party is putting its weight behind the staff's campaign.
"As MP I would campaign to protect these jobs."
Campaigning along with John Mason was Glasgow SNP MSP Sandra White who initiated a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue. She said:
"There has been concern for some time that the passport office in Glasgow was being run down.
"Postal passport applications from the South of Scotland, Lanarkshire and the Lothians have been finding their way to offices in Peterborough and Durham instead of coming to Glasgow as they had always done.
"This is not just about the loss of 100 jobs but about the removal of a vital service from Glasgow and from Scotland.
"Scotland must keep passport services.
"It is simply unacceptable that Scotland and possibly even Northern Ireland and Wales will be left without these essential passport services."
1. A. motion from the SNP's Spring conference supporting the campaign is as follow:
SAVE SCOTLAND'S PASSPORT OFFICE
Conference is alarmed at proposals to make around 100 staff redundant at Scotland's Passport Office Glasgow , notes that it appears the passport office has been deliberately run down with applications being sent elsewhere in the UK ,condemns the lack of consultation with both workers and trade unions over the move , is concerned that this is the first step to closing over the counter services and other passport operations within Scotland leading to the loss of passport services in Scotland and asks that the Scottish Government make representation to Immigration and Passport Services as a matter of urgency.
2. There is particular concern over the mis-information being presented to employees of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) as highlighted below:
• This IPS stated that Glasgow was to stop processing as a result of its small production capacity.
• In 2005 Glasgow processed 600,000 applications – following the diversion of applications the number was reduced to 350,000.
• Parliamentary Answers at Westminster show 40% of applications were deliberately diverted from Glasgow to other offices.
• UK Minister Meg Hillier stated in a letter received today (19th June) that a decision has not been taken over Glasgow
• The IPS advice to staff on announcing the consultation stated that there was no possibility of the changes being prevented as the board had taken its decision.