PASSPORT OFFICE: Think again over closure, says Hain
1:13pm Friday 18th March 2011 in Passport Office
THE Shadow Welsh Secretary called for a final rethink over proposals to close the city’s passport office ahead of the closure consultation coming to an end today.
Visiting Newport yesterday, Peter Hain said proposals to close the passport office and lose 250 jobs was “diabolical”.
He added that claims from a UK Government economic impact study into the closure, which stated that making the redundancies may boost the local economy, was "the final insult" to the people of Newport.
The Argus reported yesterday how a claim in the study stated £3million in redundancy pay "may create a short term boost in trade for the local economy."
Today sees the culmination of months of efforts to save the passport office, backed by an Argus campaign.
Mr Hain said: "I hope that even at this last minute, the Government is seeing the huge blow this is having in Newport. I want to also send a clear message to Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan that it is her duty to represent the people of Newport and Wales.
"Why should we be the only nation without its own passport service?"
Labour’s Newport East AM, John Griffiths said: "I very much hope that sense prevails and the passport office remains open.
Labour’s Newport West AM, Rosemary Butler added: "I find it disgusting that good people may be put out of work."
Other Newport AMs from across the chamber showed their support.
Welsh Lib Dem AM Veronica German said: "I will continue to fight against these proposals and urge the Government to re-examine the criteria on which these proposals were based."
Conservative AM, William Graham said: "The Passport Office is a vital part of the economy for Newport which provides an exceptional service with first class staff."