June 24, 2014

Bill Esterson

Stories have abounded in the media about people who have been unable to get a passport to go on holiday. Meanwhile MPs have been inundated with requests for help as constituents have desperately tried to get their passports on time. 

My office has had a steady flow of local people trying to find a way past the backlog. 

One constituent was stuck in Hong Kong unable to return home, while another had lost her passport and was unable to book a holiday. 

Then there was the case of the family trying to celebrate exam success with their children but unable to travel with the date of their holiday already booked. 

In the House of Commons MPs told of stories of constituents stuck abroad for months with the money running out. In once case a couple who Travelex to India so they could collect their surrogate child, found that there was a delay in getting their baby a passport. 

After three months they were stuck in a gritty hotel room worried sick about the health of their child as the rainy season approached with the threat of malaria. 

Business, personal life, holidays and the health of children. All have been of concern.

All of these cases result from cuts I staff and the closure of passport offices up and down the country. The answer from the Sport’s Minister was to tell people to holiday at home. 

This ill-judged remark was made while she was unbelievably enjoying hospitality at the world cup. She must resign or be sacked.

The trade union, PCS warned of the crisis and asked for talks with the Passport Office management to try to help solve the problems. 

PCS were ignored and requests for a meeting went unheeded. They were represented at a committee of MPs who are investigating the issue. 

Mike Jones from PCS challenged the Passport Office to meet him. They have now agreed. 

Mike by the way lives in Aintree and Merseyside can be proud of the work he has done to try to resolve this issue. 

The government ultimately is responsible. They should not have cut the service. 

They were told of the problems in plenty of time to fix them. 

Sadly the public are paying the price and it is time that ministers took action and reversed cuts that cause so much heartache and misery for so many.

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