18th June 2014
Fiona Mactaggart MP today voted for a motion calling on the Government to provide a refund for people who have had to incur extra costs and pay additional fees to have their passport applications 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, Fiona 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. In addition she has called for compensation for people who have incurred costs because of the inefficiency of 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’ to the fast track service for people who have been waiting over 3 weeks and need to travel within the next 7 days.
Over the last few weeks, many people from Slough 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 3 week target timeframe; the government’s measures will not result in any help for these people.
The passport office is making a substantial profit, as people have been forced to pay for their applications to be fast tracked. The passport office already made a £73million surplus last year. Fiona is now joining Labour colleagues calling on the Government to pay back additional fees to those who have had to upgrade through no fault of their own in the past few weeks. She has pressed on behalf of a family of British constituents living in the United Arab Emirates for compensation for fees they have incurred because they are required by the authorities there to have up to date documents.
“Over the last few weeks more and more people from Slough 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 people have been forced 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.”