HM Passport Office Backlogs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 12th May 2022.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North 9:33 am, 12th May 2022

I would like to stress to the Minister that this is not just an issue of people wanting to go on holiday. In my constituency—as you know, Mr Speaker, being so diverse as it is—people have families all across the world whom they have not seen since the pandemic. I have one elderly couple who applied before the new year, back in December. They applied, in fact, before Christmas. They were told that their passport was ready on 24 January, but that they had to send the old passport back in order to get it. By the end of March they still had not had it, by which time they had missed a niece’s wedding and, sadly, a sister’s funeral. It was only after multiple interventions that we eventually got the passport sorted at the end of last month. That is unacceptable—absolutely unacceptable.

The Minister said that 500 new staff were in place and 700 were coming, but what we really want to know is when will the Department be able to return to the three-week standard time that we all expected previously? That is the key issue and that is what our constituents need to know. He said 10 weeks from the end of June. We are way beyond the summer holidays by then. The backlog will have accumulated and those people will have lost the opportunity to go abroad. The key thing is when do we get back to that three-week period?