In the House of Commons yesterday, the Home Secretary responded to an Urgent Question on the processing delays at HM Passport Office. Bob questioned the Home Secretary’s response in dealing with the delays experienced by thousands of people who are waiting for their new passports. This is the Home Secretary’s response:
Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): The Home Secretary is now announcing a series of measures; the problem has been ongoing and apparent not for a couple of weeks, but for months. Members of Parliament—myself and everyone else—have been inundated by constituents in panic and distress. Why has it taken so long for this problem to be recognised and for measures to be taken to address this issue?
Mrs May: The increase in demand was recognised earlier this year. HM Passport Office put steps in place to deal with that increased demand. The increased demand continued and, as a result, further steps were put in place. Those steps included increasing the number of staff available to deal with the applications, increasing the number of staff on the telephone helpline, extending the hours of operation of HM Passport Office and working with couriers to ensure that printed passports were delivered within a very short space of time once they were issued. Over time, as the demand has increased, steps have been taken. It is clear that further steps need to be taken, and they are being taken. (Hansard, 12 June 2014)