STEPHEN Doughty MP has called on the Government to provide a refund for people who have had to pay to have their passport applications upgraded, as a result of the crisis in the Passport Office.
The Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth has had numerous requests for help from constituents or their families affected by the delays and problems of recent weeks.
Some of these people, having made their applications in good time according to the Home Office’s own advice on timescales, have been waiting desperately for their passport to arrive in time to travel on family holidays or for work.
As part of efforts to tackle the crisis, the Home Secretary has announced temporary measures including a free ‘upgrade’ of applications to the fast-track service for people who have been waiting over three weeks and travel within the next seven days.
But the government’s emergency measures will not help those people who over the last few weeks have already paid £55 to have their applications fast-tracked, because HMPO could not ensure their passport would be processed within the three-week target.
In the Commons on Wednesday, June 18, Stephen joined Labour colleagues in calling on Theresa May to make a one-off goodwill refund of fees for people who were forced to upgrade because of the crisis.
“More and more people from Cardiff and Penarth have been telling me about the distress they’ve experienced as a result of the extraordinary problems at the Passport Office,” said Stephen.
“It’s about time Ministers apologised for this mess, and refunded the upgrade fees people had to pay just to get their passports on time. They need to get a grip and give people their money back.”