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Passport demand could spell lower fee

By David Hughes

The cost of a passport could come down after a surge in demand looked set to leave the Passport Office with a £50 million surplus.

The head of the beleaguered organisation insisted that it was "not in chaos" as he told MPs there were still 508,000 applications being dealt with.

HM Passport Office chief executive Paul Pugh told MPs the exceptional demand meant the organisation was likely to record a surplus, which could be passed on to customers through a reduction in fees.

A standard adult first passport or renewal costs £72.50, but Mr Pugh told the Home Affairs Select Committee the "unit cost" for dealing with an application was around £57.

Asked if the Passport Office would be making a "surplus or a loss" this year, Mr Pugh replied: "If demand remains very high this year, that will of course increase our income.

"One of the options that then may be open to us is a reduction of fees to the customer."

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