Joint passports, where the name of a spouse was included free of charge, were intended to reduce the cost of passport facilities for married couples who normally travelled together. It was not intended that the named spouse would use a joint passport to travel alone.
In line with international practice, the issue of joint passports was discontinued in October 1992. The validity of those currently in use will expire between now and September 2002.
Only individual passports are now being issued to people over sixteen years of age. As a concession, joint passport holders have the option, for a single exchange fee of £15, of replacing their joint passports with two individual passports' valid only for the unexpired period of validity of the joint passports. Second named spouses may, of course, instead apply in their own right for new three- or ten-year passports and pay the fees of £10 or £45.
I believe that the exchange concession adequately covers the situation of second named spouses wishing to travel abroad alone and that no change in present practice is warranted.