GWYNNE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT to refund holidaymakers

passport officeAndrew Gwynne MP will today vote for a motion calling on the Government to provide a refund for people who have had to pay additional fees to have their passport applications to be upgraded as a result of the crisis in the passport office.

After the delays and problems at the passport office in the last few weeks, Andrew Gwynne MP has called on Theresa May to make a one-off goodwill refund of fees for people who applied for their passports in good time but were forced to upgrade them because of the crisis and mismanagement in the passport office.

As part of efforts to tackle the crisis that has engulfed the Home Office in recent weeks, the Home Secretary has announced temporary measures including a free ‘upgrade’ of people’s applications to being fast tracked to people who have been waiting over three weeks already and travel within the next seven days. But over the last few weeks, many people from Tameside and Stockport were forced to pay £55 to have their passport applications fast tracked because the HMPO could not ensure their passport would be processed within the government’s three week target timeframe and the government’s measures will not result in any help for these people.

The delays in passport processing have unintentionally lead to more money for the passport office which they have not budgeted for, as people have been forced to pay for their applications to be fast tracked. This is against the backdrop of a budget surplus at the passport office in 2012/13 of £73million. Because of this, Andrew Gwynne MP is now joining Labour colleagues and calling on the Government to pay back these additional fees to those who have had to upgrade through no fault of their own in the past few weeks.

Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“Over the last few weeks more and more people from Tameside and Stockport area have got in touch with me to tell me of the stress they’ve been having with their passports and the extra money they’ve had to pay to get it sorted. I think it’s about time Ministers apologised for this mess and refund the upgrade fees they had to pay just to get their passports on time.

“It’s unacceptable that the Passport Office should make money out of Theresa May’s incompetence and mismanagement, and her urgent measures just don’t do anything for families and people who have already been forced to pay. It’s time Theresa May got a grip and give people their money back.”

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