September 30th, 2016

MP slams passport delays

Updated: 4:29 pm, May 07, 2015

DELAYS in sending out passports are impacting on holiday-goers’ summer plans, a city MP has warned.

Geoffrey Robinson has seen a rise in the number of complaints from constituents who almost missed their flights because of delays in the Passport Office.

The Coventry North West MP has written to Home Secretary Theresa May and will raise the issue in an adjournment debate in Westminster.

The Home Office said the vast majority of passports had been issued within target times and extra staff had been brought in to help deal with pre-summer demands.

But Mr Robinson said he was concerned the service did not have the resources needed in the lead up to the school holidays.

“Over the past week I have received a number of phone calls and emails from desperate constituents worried about losing their family holidays as their passports had not arrived, in some cases the passports only arrived at the 11th hour,” he said.

“People work hard all year to save up for what should be a well-earned break, but for too many local families, getting a passport seems to be turning into a stressful experience.

“I’m determined to get to the bottom of these hold-ups. I’m concerned that more resources are needed after the government cut 6,500 jobs from the Border Agency and hundreds from the Passport Office.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have been experiencing an early summer peak in demand for passports, which seems to be in part due to the improving economy and a rise in holiday bookings.

“We have brought in extra staff to respond to the extra demand, we are operating seven days a week and our couriers are delivering passports within 24 hours of being produced.

“There is no backlog. We have issued over one million passports to customers in the UK since April and the vast majority have been, and continue to be, processed within our target turnaround times.

“We would remind people of our existing advice to customers: allow plenty of time when applying for a new or renewed passport as a passport will not be issued until the necessary security checks have been done, and do not book travel until you have received your passport.”