§ 33. Brigadier-General SPEARS
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that the amount for salaries alone for the personnel of the Passports Office and branch Passport Office represented 60 per cent. of the total received in fees in 1922–23, thus leaving only 40 per cent. for buildings, maintenance, office supplies, profits, and all other charges, so that this Department cannot be considered a profitable enterprise, and in view of the fact that the activities of this Department add nothing to the amenities of the lives of British subjects, whether he will consider coming to arrangements with foreign countries and taking action to enable this Department to be abolished at the earliest possible moment, and if he will state what he considers this moment to be?
§ Mr. McNEILL
The answer is in the negative. The figures quoted by the hon. Member, based upon the Estimates for 1922–23, are substantially correct, but the actual figures for the 11 months to the end of February show that the total expenditure for salaries will be lower and the receipts from fees considerably higher than was anticipated when the Estimates were framed. It was never intended that the Passport Office should be treated as a revenue producing Department, and it was agreed at the Paris Conference in 1920 that passport fees should not be considered as being of a fiscal character.