South East Wales

Newport's passport office to shut says PCS union

Union leaders say they expect confirmation on Monday that Newport's passport office will close with the loss of 280 jobs.

The PCS Union said indications from the UK Government were it would press ahead with its cost cutting measures.

A committee of MPs has criticised the move warning of a "significant" economic impact.

An Identity and Passport Service spokesman said it would inform staff of the future of the office on Monday.

PCS Welsh secretary Peter Harris said: "I do fear that when we get the announcement it will not be good news.

"I'm expecting 280 jobs to go . . . everything is pointing to that.

"We are obviously very disappointed that they have not listened to the arguments put forward to keep it open."

The government first announced plans to close the centre last October as part of an efficiency drive.

In March the Welsh Affairs Committee urged it to re-examine the criteria on which the decision was based.

The MPs said they were not convinced savings to the taxpayer would be achieved.

Mr Harris added: "It will obviously have a massive affect for the people involved and Newport which depends on these city centre jobs.

"The passport office is base right in the city centre and as well as the people that work there everyday, people are coming into Newport to pick up their passports, so the local council and the traders know what effect it will have.

"We can't see the economic sense of closing or virtually closing that office.

"The savings will be neither here nor there but what savings they may make they will lose simply because it will effect the economy of Newport."

An Identity and Passport Service spokesman said it had completed a collective consultation over the centre's future.

A spokesman added: "It is only right that our staff are first to hear the outcome of this process.

"We will respond to the consultation on Monday when managers make an announcement to staff."

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