U.K. Blames Improving Economy for Passport Delays

The U.K. Home Office said the improving economy is to blame for delays in issuing passports as more people booked foreign holidays.

“We have been experiencing exceptional early-summer demand for passports, in part due to the improving economy and a rise in holiday bookings,” Passport Office Chief Executive Officer Paul Pugh said in an e-mailed statement. “Staff were brought in immediately to respond to the extra demand; we are operating seven days a week.”

The Home Office said that of the more than 1 million passports issued since the start of April, 97 percent had been delivered within its three-week target, implying at least 30,000 delayed documents.

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff who process passport applications, told the BBC that “thousands” of people have had to wait more than two months for their applications to be processed.

Prime Minister David Cameron “shares the concerns of families about delays some people have been experiencing,” his spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, told reporters in London. “We’re confident the processes are in place” to deal with the backlog, he said.

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