Families frustrated by passport delays

Craig Whittaker MP
Craig Whittaker MP

Families across Calderdale face having their summer holiday plans ruined or disrupted because of major delays at the UK’s passport office.

Simple passport renewals are taking up to six weeks to process and first-time applications are taking much longer.

Emma Claxton (20) of Halifax applied to renew her passport on May 4 for a holiday with friends next month, but she has still not received the new one.

Emma said: “The Post Office said it would take three weeks - I tried a few times to call the passport office, but the lines have been jammed.

“I finally got through to somebody and they said they’d call me back within 48 hours - that didn’t happen.

“My friend’s in the same position, but he’s applying for his first passport, and he’s not even had his interview yet.

“I’ve been really worried - it’s panicked me really because there’s quite a few of us going and I’m not sure whether we’ll all be going now.”

Craig Whittaker, Conservative MP for Calder Valley said: “The passport office have seen the highest level of demand for 12 years.

“I understand that the majority of straightforward renewals are being dealt within the standard three weeks.

“Ninety seven per cent were dealt with within three weeks and over 99 per cent within four. What I would say to people is if you need a passport, make sure you apply for it in good time.”

Linda Riordan, Labour MP for Halifax, said: “The passport fiasco has affected people of all ages in Halifax.

“I’ve had frantic calls from a 96-year-old lady, a mother needing a passport for her toddler to get away on a family holiday, as well as worried students - some people have postponed holidays, others have been left high and dry without information, hope or a passport.

“This is a good example of what happens when key services are cut back.”