§ Mr. Wheeler
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the processing time for passport applications at all United Kingdom passport offices; what further progress has been made towards computerisation of passport offices and dispersal of work on postal applications from London to Glasgow; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hurd
Processing times for 14 October are shown in the table, together with those of six months and a year ago for the purpose of comparison. Urgent applications are given priority and are not normally subject to any delay.
Average time between receipt of application and issue of passport
24 October 1988 24 April 1988 23 October 1988 London 13 56 144 Glasgow 12 33 9 Peterborough 8 30 13 Newport 11 19 10 Liverpool 8 14 4 Belfast 2 3 2 1 Resulting from the effects of industrial action.
The issue of machine readable passports in the European Community common format, which commenced in Glasgow on 15 August, is progressing satisfactorily, and plans for the next phase of the computerisation programme are well advanced. The phased transfer of postal applications from London to the computerised and enlarged Glasgow passport office commenced on 4 October. We aim to complete the dispersal of jobs and transfer of work from London to Glasgow by May 1989 when the London passport office will deal only with applications lodged by callers and all applications posted from the Greater London area will be handled in Glasgow. In association with these changes, the London public counter will, from 31 October 1988, close at 4 pm as opposed to 4.30 pm at present, though arrangements to deal with urgent inquiries up to 6 pm will remain.