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Passport service gaps flagged up

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By Ben Murray
Dumfries and West
Passport service gaps flagged up

CONCERNS have been raised about a lack of passport services locally.

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper says she has been contacted by constituents frustrated that passport application forms are only available from the Locharbriggs Post Office, but are often out of stock there.

Therefore, anyone requiring a hard copy – which is required in the case of lost and fast track passport applications – then must travel to Annan, Dalbeattie or Newton Stewart.

Ms Harper said: “Over the last few weeks in particular, I have been contacted by constituents regarding the bureaucracy and inflexibility of the Passport Office.

“This is particularly true when it comes to accessing Passport Office services across Dumfries, as well as the wider region.

“In Dumfries itself, the only place a person can obtain a hard copy passport application form from is Locharbriggs Post Office, but often they are unavailable due to demand – forcing people to travel to Annan, Dalbeattie, Newton Stewart or further afield.”

She believes the situation has arisen due to the ‘gradual decline’ of Post Office services across the region, adding: “These service cuts are having a real impact on constituents, not just in terms of passports and provisional and driving licence applications, but also for older people who rely on the Post Office for other services, including banking.

“Hard copy passport forms are important, not only to those who either cannot or who chose not to apply for a passport online, but are also the only way to access fast track passport applications for new or replacement passports. It is simply unfair.

“I am calling on the Passport Office to allow people using the fast track service and those looking to replace a passport due to it being lost, stolen or damaged, to be able to make this application online, the same way as people can for new and renewal passport applications.”

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