Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Sandra White MSP for Glasgow will tomorrow call on the Scottish Government to raise the issue of Passport Office services being run down throughout the UK at the next Joint Ministerial Committee.
This follows the announcement by the Identity and Passport Services to axe postal applications services at Glasgow and up to four other offices in the UK a move which could lead to the loss of these services in Wales and Northern Ireland leaving no devolved administration with a fully operating passport service.
Commenting Sandra 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.
"It is simply unacceptable that Scotland and possibly Northern Ireland and Wales will be left without these essential passport services and I hope that the Joint Ministerial Committee will consider this when it next meets.
"The whole way this has been handled is a complete mess with the IPS announcing the job losses to the media before informing staff, making it clear that a further four offices will suffer the same fate but not saying which, leading to uncertainty and stress for the workers in other offices and by having no idea how this will affect people in Scotland applying for passports.
"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. Staff also feel that they are being used as a test to see if the IPS can drive through these changes, likening it to the way the Poll Tax was introduced.
"Staff also fear that this is the first step to closing the Office entirely, leading to more job losses and no passport services in Scotland.
"You have to ask yourself, are these closures politically motivated and further evidence of the UK Government's dismissive attitude to the people of Scotland."