A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Passports pass the pricey point!

Today David Cameron announced the spending reveiw of defence. It was all about keeping us safe for the best price. How best to defeat the enemy and all that. Sounded OK as far as it went. But I get a sneaking feeling that in this modern age of terrorist warfare, where the odd bearded wonder is the actual problem, not a whole army of well disciplined foes, that it is the "man on the Clapham omnibus" that gets to pay for it all. And in more ways than one.

Only yesterday I was thinking again of renewing my passport. Can't go anywhere foreign without one, not these days. So much for the single market of the great European experiment. I would like to pop over to France but have to fork out £77.50 for the privilege. Now, OK, that boils down to £7.75 each year for a ten-year passport, but it's the reasons behind why the Passport Office is in charge of such inflation-busting price rises that gets me.

I saw this on Wikipedia and immediately thought that both the terrorists and the mandarins have a hand in weedling cash out of the citizen. If there were no terrorists it is perfectly plausible to think that the cost of renewing a passport would be no more that £25. But there is a whacking great premium because of Osama and his gang, fraudsters and official inefficiency. My last passport was issued in the USA by the Washington Embassy. I now see that in similar circumstances today I would be stiffed for £124!

From Wikipedia -

The cost of obtaining a standard passport over the years has increased greatly. While consumer prices in the UK have increased by 24% from early 1998 to 2009, the price of a passport renewal increased by 269%.
£77.50 - 3 September 2009 - an increase which the Government said was necessary due to a falling number of passport applicants, and also to pay for enhanced passport security measures. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said that people were paying for the price of introducing ID cards.
£72 - 4 October 2007 - due to an increase in the consular premium added by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
£66 - 5 October 2006 - for the introduction of the latest generation passport, anti-fraud measures and interviews for first-time applicants.
£51 - 1 December 2005 - to reflect the cost of implementing key anti-fraud measures.
£42 - 2 October 2003 - to pay for new anti-fraud measures.
£33 – 21 November 2002.
£30 – 14 January 2002.
£28 – 16 December 1999 - to fund a major overhaul of the Passport Agency following the summer crisis.
£21 – 26 March 1998.
£18 - November 1992.
The above fees apply for passports issued in the United Kingdom by the Identity and Passport Service. Passports issued outside the UK by the Passport Section of a British Consulate, Embassy, or High Commission currently cost £124.

If the spending on defence could get rid of Bin Laden and the spending on security could get rid of fraudsters, we might get our money's worth on passport production. Otherwise we will not get the value for money that David Cameron talks about. Just more shelling out for a poor return.


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