As if the poor state of the pound was bad enough, the home office has announced it plans to increase the costs associated with the right to leave the country. The cost of getting yourself a passport is set to rise by as much as 17 per cent, though the people who apply online won't be forced to fork over as much money.
Currently it costs £72.50 to buy or renew an adult passport, regardless of how you do it, and under the new plans it'll rise to £85 for anyone applying by post. The good news is that adopting the new-fangled communications technology of the 21st century costs less, with online applications only rising to £75.50. Similar price hikes will be put in place for a child passport, with the £46 fee rising to £58.50 or £49 if you apply online.
It's not too different from the pricing structure of driving license renewal, which costs £17 if you do it by post or £14 online. Though obviously the difference in pricing is much smaller.
While nobody likes a price increase for anything, the government has been quick to point out that people paying online will still be paying less than they would have done before 2012, when the passport fees were reduced. Before that reduction it was £77.50 for an adult and £51 for a child.
The idea behind the different pricing structures is to encourage the use of the government's digital services, though impact assessments claim that the HM Passport Office is also set to receive an extra £50 million every year thanks to the price increase.
The new plans are said to be coming into effect after 27th March, though they will need to be approved by Parliament before the Home Office can implement the changes. The Home Office has anticipated people might scramble to renew their passport before that date as well, bringing on an extra 200 staff to deal with the projected demand.
It's only a £3 increase, though, provided you have the internet and don't have an aversion to filling stuff out online. Frankly it's easier to do things online anyway, so it's a win/win. [Gov.uk]
Image: Chris Fleming/Flickr