Anger over plans to close passport office

A passport office is to close with the loss of 250 jobs, a union said today.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said the closure of the office in Newport, south Wales, would have "devastating consequences" for the local economy.



It said scores more jobs were threatened at interview offices across the UK.



PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The Identity and Passport Service is playing fast and loose with the security of the British passport by putting cuts before the needs of the public.



"Not only will this increase the risk of fraud, the Newport closure represents an attack on an area of the UK economy that is crying out for investment not cuts.



"These closures will lead to mass job losses at a time of rising unemployment, and we will do everything we can to reverse this outrageous decision."



Newport's Celtic Manor resort last weekend hosted the Ryder Cup golf tournament.



Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain said: "I am extremely angry at the decision to close the Passport Office in Newport. It is frankly an absolute disgrace and a devastating blow to Newport so soon after last week's Ryder Cup success.



"These job losses will have a huge impact on the local economy, with people in Wales now facing a journey of hundreds of miles to London or Liverpool for face-to-face service at the Passport Office."



He added: "The economy is still fragile, we need support and investment from Government aimed at securing growth - not these savage cuts to public services being imposed on Wales by the Tories and Lib Dems."

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