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    Government To Make £50 Million Profit From Passport Fees This Year Despite Not Being Very Good At Passports

    The surplus could be even more if demand stays high, says the head of HM Passport Office.


    The government is set to make upwards of £50 million in profit from passport fees this year as delays and chaos continue at HM Passport Office.

    Paul Pugh, the chief executive of the passport office, told MPs that he expected his organisation to make at least the same amount extra from travellers than it needed to cover its costs as it did last year, and possibly more.

    "I would expect a surplus of about £50 million by the end of this financial year," he told parliament's home affairs committee. "That would depend upon levels of demand and levels of cost. If demand remains very high this year then that would of course increase our income."

    The revelation comes during a summer backlog that's seen huge delays at passport processing centres, with some people unable to travel due to not receiving the right documents in time.

    Last month Pugh confirmed that there were around 346,000 more applications marked "in progress" in the passport processing system than there were this time last year.

    A standard adult passport renewal costs a minimum of £72.50 per person – around the price of return flights from the UK to Iceland.

    Applications can cost travellers even more if they're made through a post office.

    HM Passport Office gives the surplus money it raises to the Treasury after it has covered its costs.

    The passport office's chief executive also told MPs that his organisation could cut fees to customers if it made a bigger surplus, but would not commit to doing so. Fee cuts were "one of the options that would then be available to us" in the event of a large surplus, he said.

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