asked Her Majesty's Government:
What savings they expect to make from moving the public counter service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Legalisation Office; and whether they have estimated the additional cost to users of the service. [HL425]
The move of the Legalisation Office is not a cost-saving exercise. The current premises are not able to cope with the increasing demand for legalisation services, and allow no room for expansion. The move to Milton Keynes will provide the space required and further enable the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide a significantly improved service. In order to respond to the needs of business, we will retain a small operation in London.
As part of this exercise we will review the fee for this service. No figures are yet available, as lease negotiations are ongoing and refurbishment costs have yet to be finalised, before any decision on a fee increase is made.
It is intended that, should the fee increase, the bulk will fall on business customers using the London processing centre, as the running costs for providing this service will be higher than for the Milton Keynes operation.