Local MP Yvette Cooper has accused Government of complete chaos and of putting holidays and business trips at risk as problems at the Passport Office continue to cause long delays in some people getting new passports issued.
The MP has been contacted by families from across the area worried by long delays including a family from Knottingley who had to drive to Durham to collect their son’s passport or face missing their flight and a couple from Pontefract who face overstaying their work visa in Malaysia and being left without the passports they need to return home.
And one family from Castleford may miss the deadline for their cruise after their application for a new passport in April was delayed.
Yvette Cooper MP said:
“The Government’s response to this fiasco has been all over the place. At first it was “crisis, what crisis” until they were forced to own up to the problem.
“But they need to get a grip. I’m being contacted by growing numbers of people across all parts of the constituency who are having problems and are worried about having to delay or cancel their holidays.
“Families have had to drive to Durham to physically collect their documents, have almost missed flights.
"The Passport Office has had major staff cuts in the last four years. The Government are now trying to quickly find more staff and are drafting people in from elsewhere - including from fraud and security checks – but that’s not good enough.
“The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have taken their eye off the ball, and families are having their holidays wrecked as a result. It is deeply unfair.
“We need an urgent plan to clear the passport backlog and help people worried about their holidays now and if any constituents are affected by this problem I’d urge them to get in touch with my office on 01977 553388 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.”