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MP calls on Government to improve passport services following complaints
6:08pm Friday 30th May 2014 in News
AN MP flooded with complaints about Passport Office blunders has called on the Government to make changes.
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman is working to help an increasing number of constituents as they struggle to get passports in time for travel.
She says the Government must do more to improve the situation and has called on them to take on more staff and employ extra resources.
Mrs Chapman spoke out after Darlington pensioner Eileen Shepherd lost her dream holiday following delays and conflicting information from the Passport Office.
She said: “We were helping Mrs Shepherd and she did everything asked of her in good time and was let down badly.
“It’s not just her, we are helping a lot of people and it’s just horrendous, your heart breaks for them.
“They advertise being able to provide a passport in three weeks in some circumstances and six weeks in others and you take that at face value as that is what you are told.
“These people have done everything right and everything the Government has asked for and then have lost huge amounts of money.
“It is outrageous. Officialdom and bureaucracy preventing people fulfilling things they’d love to do and have worked hard for is unacceptable.
“Holidays matter, especially when people don’t have much money to splash around.
“When they decide to treat themselves, it really matters and it’s not like they can just go and book another one.
“People make sacrifices to go on holiday and then find out, through no fault of their own, they are unable to do that.”
She added: “There is such disinterest from the passport office and they are not pulling out the stops to help in the way you would expect.
“It’s unacceptable and the Government needs to put in extra resources and provide extra staff.
“I feel very strongly about this and we cannot have this situation going on any longer than it has - a lot of people are losing money.”
In relation to the case of Mrs Shepherd, a spokeswoman from the Home Office said her passport application had now been processed and her passport was being returned to her.
She added: “We are sorry Mrs Shepherd missed her holiday, however we do recommend customers should not book travel until they have received their passport.”
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