Wirral MP challenges government over passport delays
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16 Jun 2022
Margaret Greenwood MP has challenged the government over its failure to provide a timely passport service, saying that residents in her constituency of Wirral West have missed out on holidays and family visits overseas because of the government’s failure to run the passport office effectively.
The Wirral West MP was speaking in the House of Commons this week.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents many staff in Her Majesty’s Passport Office, has said that the Home Office initially promised that 1,700 new staff would be recruited from April 2021. However, the government has now only committed to recruiting an additional 1,200 staff in between April 2021 and summer 2022.
PCS has also said that new staff are being employed on agency contracts with inadequate training and that inductions are not taking place as management are rushing to get staff in place.
The motion for the Commons debate, which was secured by Labour, called on the government minister with responsibility for overseeing HMPO to come to the House of Commons to apologise for the tens of thousands of people who have waited more than six weeks for their passport.
While Labour and other opposition parties voted for the motion, it was defeated by the Conservatives.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“I have heard from a number of constituents who have missed out on much needed holidays and important family visits abroad because of delays in receiving their passports.
“This is through no fault of their own.
“Many people across the country are being forced to either pay for fast-track passport services or face losing money to cancelled holidays.
“These problems are a direct result of government incompetence.
“The reports from the PCS union about staff not getting adequate training are very concerning.
“There have also been reports of rock-bottom morale among staff at Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
“Staff need to receive the proper training so that they can be confident that they are fulfilling their roles effectively.
“People who want to travel abroad must be able to have confidence that when they apply for their passport, they will receive it in good time.
“The government needs to sort this mess out and make sure that the passport office has the resources it needs to deliver a reliable service.”