HC Deb 18 January 2002 vol 378 cc547-8W
Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the minimum period is within which a British passport holder can obtain an emergency replacement in the event of loss or theft; and what the minimum period was prior to 14 January. [28424]

Angela Eagle

On 14 January the Passport Service introduced two new guaranteed services at its public counters. These are a same day service at £75 for a standard passport and a one week service at £60 for a standard passport. The standard two week service (non-guaranteed) remains available for postal application. The same day service is not available for first passport applications because of the time needed to complete checks on identity. Applications to replace lost or stolen passports are dealt with in the same way as first applications, because the high incidence of fraud makes it necessary to check identity and records of the previous issue. This means that the fastest service normally available for replacement of a lost or stolen passport is the guaranteed one week service.

Exceptionally, in the case of a genuine emergency involving travel for compassionate reasons or business purposes, a same day service can be provided. Prior to 14 January, services were not guaranteed and turnaround times would depend on factors such as the volume of applications being dealt with and the relative difficulty of establishing identity in the individual case. The change is intended to help customers by providing a choice of services with guarantees for those who need a fast service, while protecting the integrity of the British passport.

Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in each of the last five years the Passport Office Agency has paid compensation to its customers; and what was the total sum of such compensation. [28423]

Angela Eagle

The total number of compensation payments made to customers of the United Kingdom Passport Service over the last five years is given in the table together with the amounts for each year.

Number of payments Total amount of compensation (£)
1997 1,557 42,303
1998 2,086 60,610
1999 5,142 344,984
2000 2,478 110,306
2001 2,193 71,955

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