It’s the time of year when many people head to the airport for a break abroad.
But this year a simple trip has become a huge source of stress for many people who have applied to have their passports renewed.
I’ve received more complaints about the Passports Office in the last four weeks than I have in the last four years. I’ve heard from people who were seriously worried that they might not be able to travel, with passports just arriving at the 11th hour.
People are being asked to pay £55 per passport in order to fast-track their applications at the last minute, even though they applied with plenty of time. I even had one women who wanted her passport renewal fast-tracked but they recorded it as her application being cancelled.
I’m now hearing from constituents that so many people around the country are trying to find out what’s going on that they can’t even speak to anyone in the Passport Office to find out what the status of their application is. Having the local MP act on their behalf has been their only way to get basic information.
Something is seriously wrong with the process right now and I expect that the Government have cut staffing levels to the point that they can’t cope with the normal summer rush. This has to stop, and we certainly can’t see this becoming a regular issue. I have written to the Home Secretary to raise these problems.
If you are seeing these delays and have any worries about your own passport then please let me know. I’ll do what I can to try and help you, and more examples will help me to hold them to account.