Wear

Passport office protest over Budget cuts

Union members demonstrating outside Durham's passport office
Image caption More than 60 contracts are being cut at the passport office

Civil servants have protested outside Durham's Passport Office over public sector cuts outlined in the Budget.

The Chancellor has told MPs that public sector pay will be frozen and 25% cut from government department budgets.

It comes after the announcement that more than 60 temporary contracts are being terminated at Milburngate House following the decision to axe ID cards.

Public and Commercial Services Union members demonstrated outside the offices earlier.

Union spokesman Jeff Mcgough said: "We are demonstrating to highlight PCS's concerns over potential cuts to public services and public services jobs.

'Tax gap'

"We are very concerned about the damage it may do to our members' livelihoods but also to the wider community and economy in Durham."

He said there was an alternative to cutting the jobs of low-paid staff.

He said: "There is an estimated £100bn tax gap in the UK economy. We would like to see George Osborne putting more resources into ensuring that HM Revenue and Customs can collect that tax. If they collected that tax, then they wouldn't have to cut a single public sector job."

A statement from the Home Office confirmed the 67 contracts at Milburngate House would end.

A spokesman for the Identity and Passport Service said: "Following the government's commitment to cancel identity cards, around 60 temporary staff based in Durham have had their contracts ended three months early.

"It is estimated this will save approximately £140,000 that will contribute towards budget reductions across government."

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