Here is your passport to penury

Philip Johnston comments in the Daily Telegraph about passport price inflation and its causes:

Today, an ordinary, non-eJumbo costs £66. If you are in a crushing hurry, and need one on the day, it will cost you £108. For goodness sake, you even have to fork out £45 for a baby’s passport (£85 if you’re in a rush) – when until recently you could amend your own to include the offspring for a fiver. Next year, when the passport is combined with an ID card, the standard fee for an ordinary, 10-year, 32-page passport/ID card will be at least £93.

That represents a five-fold increase over 13 years, which must rank among the most extravagant examples of fleecing the public of recent times. Particularly since the Government left people with no option after it withdrew the cheaper alternatives, such as the British Visitors Passport (£12), which allowed entry to 25 countries, mostly in Europe, or the British Excursion Document (£3), which lasted 90 hours and sufficed for a day’s Channel hopping.

The Government says 70 per cent of the cost of the ID card would be spent in any case on the ePassport, but attempts to get a cost breakdown under the Freedom of Information Act are being resisted on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. The financial waters are being muddied so we cannot work out the true cost of Labour’s folly.