Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, criticises Minister on the closure of Leicester’s Passport Office….reports Asian Lite News
The East Midlands will be deprived of a crucial civic facility as the shutters are coming down to regional passport office in Leicester. The move draws flak from several quarters. Following the announcement that the Passport Office in Leicester will close at the end of this week, Jon has written to the Minister of Immigration, James Brokenshire MP.
“Having previously closed the Derby Office, and now the Leicester Office, this government is making it more difficult for people in Leicester, and the East Midlands, to get their first passport,” the MP said.
“People over 16 who are applying for a passport for the first time have to have a face to face interview. In Leicester there were around 14,000 appointments a year. at the Leicester office will now have to travel to Birmingham or Peterborough.
“With the closure of the Leicester office there are now no Passport Offices in the East Midlands. Local people may now have to take off work, and find the money for travel costs to Peterborough or Birmingham, for what is a 10 to 20 minute interview.
“Some people may have to return to Birmingham or Peterborough for a second appointment if an interpreter is required. This did not happen with appointments at Leicester as it was an Interpreter Office.”
The Passport Office holds a licence to occupy the premises until September 2018 with an option to break the licence in September 2016. However, according to the government, the date to cease interviewing in March 2016 has been set to enable staff to work with the Home Office career transition service and focus on finding alternative employment prior to the office being decommissioned later in the year.