EMMA LEWELL-BUCK: Give us a break! Passport issue and renewal delays are ‘not good enough’
It appears there is nothing in her brief that the Home Secretary doesn’t manage to make a mess of.
In a government filled with gross incompetence she excels at failure, even the basics, such as issuing and renewing people’s passports on time is too much of a task.
Every day, anxious constituents with imminent holidays are contacting my office because of delays and backlogs in passports arriving.
This is despite these constituents applying in ample time.
People are spending hours stuck on the telephone to then be cut off or being sent to queue up at offices miles away from where they live.
Even the dedicated hotline that MPs use to help their constituents has been jammed or out of use.
As a result, advice is now, instead of the usual five week wait for an adult passport you must wait 10, but Ministers have advised MPs they can’t guarantee it won’t be even longer than the 10 weeks.
It was reported this week that privately contracted couriers have also lost hundreds of passports and supporting documentation.
The Prime Minister’s response to this shamble was typically void of any responsibility or solutions, instead he said he would privatise the Passport Office.
This misguided ideology that the private sector will solve everything is nonsense, just look at what happened to water, energy and rail.
It is estimated there is now a backlog of 500,000 applications to process.
The government has said that they plan to increase staff by 700, but not until this summer.
It also misses the point, the Home Office for which the Home Secretary is responsible is suffering from poor management, organisation and direction, in the face of such incompetence increasing workforce alone won’t fully address these problems.
It is simply not good enough that after the misery of Covid, families who have saved hard to go abroad for a holiday are either cancelling or re arranging their holidays and long-awaited visits to loved ones at considerable cost.
Please remember, if you live in South Shields and are struggling to get your passport me and my team are always ready to help.