More anger over passport delays - but officials insist there is no backlog (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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More anger over passport delays - but officials insist there is no backlog
Updated 6:09pm Wednesday 4th June 2014 in News
THE Passport Office has again come under fire from one of the region’s MPs for putting people’s travel plans in jeopardy.
In the past week alone Hugh Bayley has had to intervene for seven people who have complained their passports have not arrived on time.
And now he has written to chief executive Paul Pugh demanding to know what is causing the delay in processing applications.
“The Passport Office seems to be in meltdown,” said Mr Bayley, the Labour MP for York Central.
“Given what you have to pay for a passport these days it is simply not acceptable for people who apply in good time to be left wondering whether they will actually be able to get away at all.”
He said each of the applications had been sent out in accordance with the Passport Office’s own timescales and should have been processed in time for his constituents’’ travel plans.
And he added: “In the past ten years I have only had to contact the Passport Office on three occasions to ask them to hurry things along, but this week alone I have raised cases for constituents seven times. I want the Passport Office to address this issue before it gets any worse.”
His criticism follows similar charges by Darlington MP Jenny Chapman who last week said she had been flooded with complaints.
However a Passport Office spokesman insisted there was no backlog and added: “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.”
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