The Con Dem Government is dead wrong to nearly halve employment at the Newport's Passport Office. Sadly this announcement has been long expected, the retention of the customer service centre and the complaints and correspondence parts of the Passport Office (which will save around 150 jobs) will do nothing to prevent the loss of the 120 jobs which are too be cut. A Newport City Council report which assessed the impact of the Passport Office on Newport stated that it was worth £25 million a year to the local economy.
Only last year, Newport was included in a list of cities most likely to take a big hit from the cuts being made in London by the Tories and Lib Dems - and this announcement of job loses only reinforces that. The jobs and services provided are critical to Newport's local economy. The real danger is that the Con Dem's see the partial closure as unfinished business, how much longer before they have another go? This bad decision was made in London, not by the people of Wales, who understandably want to see a fully functioning passport office in their own country. Unless responsibility for the passport office is devolved to Wales, we will continue to have no real defence against decisions made in London.
At one well attended public rally we were all treated to Newport's Labour MP's condemnation of what the Con Dem's were doing. Now what has remained unspoken throughout the long and well supported campaign to retain the passport office, is that the decision to reduce civil service numbers to save money was made in Westminster by a Labour Government, well before the Con Dem coalition was formed and well before the last Westminster election took place. The Civil Service does little without being told what to do, so who in the last Labour Government started the wheels turning, other than probably a Labour Minster?