Passport office backlog: David Cameron promises extra staff to clear pile of applications

 

Deputy Political Editor

David Cameron insisted this afternoon that the massive passport backlog would be cleared following the deployment of extra staff by the Home Office.

He made the promise with officials struggle to process a pile of 500,000 applications from holidaymakers and business travellers.

The Prime Minister told the Commons that 300,000 more people had applied to renew their passports than was normal for this time of the year.

Challenged over the crisis by Ed Miliband, the Prime Minister accused the Labour leader of trying to “frighten people”.

He said: “The Government has made sure 250 extra staff deployed, longer opening hours, seven-days-a-week… the Home Secretary has announced today that new offices will be opened in Liverpool.”

Read more
Passport Q&A: Families 'held to ransom' but application 'backlogs' are denied. What do you need to know?  

He said: “The Home Office has been on this at the very start.”

Mr Miliband countered Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has been too busy squabbling with Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to “pay attention to the business of the government.”

He challenged Mr Cameron to “get a grip on this situation”.

Earlier Mrs May said the problem was caused by a “very, very high” level of applications at the beginning of 2014, and acknowledged families would concerned about getting their documents back in time for their holidays.

She said: “We will continue to look at this issue and the Passport Office will put more staff in place and resources in place to ensure they can deal with these applications.”

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