She might not be worried enough to do anything more than a pooled clip to broadcasters, but Theresa May is clearly sufficiently concerned by the backlog in processing passports to announce the Passport Office will put more staff in place to deal with the backlog. Speaking to reporters this morning, the Home Secretary said:
‘The Passport Office has been putting plans in place since the beginning of this year when they started to see this increase in numbers. They have been increasing the numbers of staff, they’re now open, the Passport Office is working, from 7am to midnight. We’re seeing them working longer hours, more days of the week. But we will continue to look at this issue and the Passport Office will put more staff in place and the resources in place to ensure that they can deal with these applications.’
This is a tricky story for the government. On the one hand, a rise in applications for passports is, as some are arguing this morning, that Brits feel things are getting sufficiently better for them to book a holiday. On the other hand, hell hath no fury like a Brit who was feeling sufficiently optimistic to book a holiday finding out they can’t go because their passport application is still sitting in a box with thousands of others. Passports are one of the operations of government that voters can get very angry about very quickly, and so May can’t appear too unconcerned about this.
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