Half a million Brits face travel chaos after 'passport backlog'

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Passport backlog could cause holiday chaos for half a million Brits

Thousands of Brits could be facing summer holiday chaos after a growing backlog at the Passport Office means they may not receive their documents on time.

Some passport applications are taking as much as two months to process, with the backlog reportedly already reaching 500,000.

According to the Daily Mail, the Passport Office says it has received 300,000 more applications since January than this time last year, suggesting the rise is down to "the improving economy and a rise in holiday bookings".

But unions are saying job cuts have left it unable to cope with the level of demand as the busy summer holiday period approaches.

A letter describing the severity of the situation from Mike Jones at the Public and Commercial Services Union written to Paul Pugh, the Chief Executive of the Passport Office, was seen by the Daily Telegraph.

The paper reports it read: "Backlogs are currently near half a million and the general public are suffering as their applications are not being dealt with in a reasonable time."

He added: "Despite making profits of £70 million in the last financial year there appears to be a lack of forward thinking and measures put in place to sufficiently deal with applications. We do not accept that the current problems can be solely down to unusual demand."

Mr Pugh said in a statement that extra staff had been drafted in to cope with the increased demand, adding: "We have processed more than 97 per cent of straightforward passport renewal and child applications within the three week target turnaround time. There is no backlog, with over 99 per cent of straightforward applications being processed within four weeks."

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