A government presiding over a ‘ pitiful car crash in the passport office.’ That’s the criticism Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse has expressed after data revealed by the Liberal Democrats shows a shocking 181 % increase in the number of lost passports.
Mrs Hobhouse has slammed the Government for failing to prepare for the massive increase in demand this year.
Alongside the number of lost passports, the data reveals that the number of staff in the Passport Office fell from 4,376 to 3,704 in 2021. Whilst the number increased to 5,043 as of June 2022, this has been criticised as too little too late for the busy summer period.
Wera has spoken about constituents who have been forced to miss family holidays because their documents were not back in time. Others have spoken of being given wrong information and a complete lack of communication.
Wera Hobhouse MP commented:
“The pitiful pattern of chaos at the Passport Office is pathetic. The British public are suffering as a result of this Government’s incompetence. The Passport Office is massively overstretched. Is there any surprise after years and years of Conservative cuts? This massive increase in lost passports is not acceptable.
“I’ve had family after family writing in to me to complain that they’ve missed family holidays because they were waiting for documents. One constituent waited 5 months for their passport to be returned after a name change.
In Parliament, I saw the pop-up Passport Office be deluged with queries and massive queues only for people to be turned away. I cannot understand why the Government have been silent on this issue. We need urgent action to prevent more disruption and chaos.”