Four local passport offices in Wales to close

Newport passport office
Image caption It was announced last week that Newport's regional passport office was to close

Four local passport offices in Wales are to close with the loss of 27 jobs, the Home Office has confirmed.

Offices in Aberystwyth, Swansea, Newport and Wrexham will close by September 2011 and be replaced by a mobile interview service.

Existing video interview services in Carmarthen, Haverfordwest and Newtown will remain, said a spokesman.

Ben Rapier of the Public and Commercial Services Union said: "It's even more bad news I'm afraid."

Last week it was announced that the larger regional passport office in Newport was set to close with the loss of 300 jobs.

After a meeting on Tuesday with Home Office minister Damian Green and Sarah Rapson, head of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said she had secured a promise that 45 of these jobs would be saved.

Mr Rapier said: "We heard on Friday that the regional office was going to close. Today our members heard that the majority of interview offices spread throughout the UK are going to close as well.

"In total in the UK, if we factor in the 300 at risk here in the regional office [in Newport] we are looking at 550 [jobs].

"They are in remote locations. That's why they are where they are. So members of the public will have to travel further to access passport services.

"Across the UK [these offices] are also often placed in areas where government work is the only work available so it will have a huge impact on the local economies where those offices are."

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