The cost of a new UK passport went down by £5 today, but there are many European countries that offer their passports cheaper. So do our passports actually represent good value for money?
It’s rare to see anything getting cheaper, particularly when everything else seems to be getting more expensive.
So it’s a refreshing change to see the price of a UK passport going down. From today, the price of a standard adult 10-year passport will fall from £77.50 to £72.50.
OK, so a £5 saving isn’t going to make a huge difference to my spending power over a decade. 50p extra a year isn’t going to change my holiday lifestyle one little bit, but I’d still rather passports cost £5 less than £5 more.
Cutting costs – not customer service
The Home Office says the price cut is the result of £40m savings at the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in the last financial year. Those savings involved closing 22 interview offices, cutting staff numbers by 9.1%, and closing one application processing centre.
The Home Office also claims that customer service standards will remain high regardless of the efficiency savings, and I hope they’re right. As despite the £5 cut in price, the cost of a UK passport is still higher than many European countries. Of the 20 countries we looked at, we found 12 other countries that charge less than the UK for a passport lasting 10 years.
The problem with passport prices
The cheapest we found was Spain at £21.50, while Austria, France, Germany, and Ireland also charged less than the UK. The Home Office argues that many European countries subsidise passport fees, or impose an extra charge for travelling outside the EU, and that the UK passport office provides a faster service.
It also cites countries outside the EU that charge more, including New Zealand at £161, Australia at £158 and Canada at £112.
Do you think the cost of a passport is justified? I haven’t had to renew my passport recently so I don’t have first hand experience, but how have you found it? Is renewing a passport a breeze or a bother?
Are UK passport prices too expensive?
Yes - it costs too much to buy a passport (82%, 235 Votes)
No - the cost of a passport is reasonable (18%, 50 Votes)
Total Voters: 292