Passport Office in summer meltdown
It's summer (sort of), which means digging out your passport, only to find that it’s out of date and the photo is of you aged 20 looking like Neil from the Young Ones. So you dash to complete your application, figure out the forms, and cross your fingers that your passport might just arrive before your holiday.
Well, er, there might be a little problem with that this year. The Passport Office is struggling to cope with demand, and there’s a 500,000 strong backlog of passports that may not be issued on time.
The average time to renew a passport it usually three weeks, but people have been complaining that they have waited twice as long. It’s such a problem that customers are being warned that they may have to pay an extra £55.50 to get it when they need it.
To cope with this year’s demand, a quarter of staff who usually work on detecting passport fraud have been reassigned to process them. But even so, they’re not meeting their targets.
So, what’s the beef, Stew? Well, the passport office is in turmoil and needs entirely restructured, say MPs. Unions say that job cuts have caused the problem. But the Passport office is blaming it on increasing consumer confidence and the improving economy.
No idea who is right, but if you’re going on holiday in three weeks time and you haven’t renewed your passport yet, prepared to empty your pockets.