Long delays in the issuing of passports could not have come at a worse time for Moray families planning to travel overseas this summer.
That was the view expressed last night by Angus Robertson MP, who has demanded assurances from the Home Secretary that Scots awaiting new or updated passports will receive them in time.
Theresa May came under intense pressure in the House of Commons on Thursday and announced a raft of emergency measures aimed at easing the pressure on civil servants at the Passport Office.
Union officials insist that the issue has not been caused by incompetence of their members but by massive job cuts in the service that have left staff in insufficient numbers to cope with demand. Meanwhile the Home Secretary has blamed a massive increase in demand for passports this summer.
Commenting after the Westminster debate Moray’s MP said: “With Moray families gearing up to go on holiday the delays in Passport Applications could not come at a worst time.
“The Home Secretary has been unable to provide any guarantee so far but we have left her in no doubt of the urgency of this issue for families in Scotland who have made plans for the fast approaching school holiday period.
“The SNP has pointed out that school holidays start earlier in Scotland than the rest of the UK – making the passport fiasco much more immediate and pressing in Scotland. The Home Secretary needs to acknowledge these circumstances and make every effort to get passport applications sorted out in time.
“People work hard all year and tens of thousands are at risk of missing out on their holidays.”
Currently passports cannot be personally collected from the passport office in Glasgow with some Moray residents already saying that they have had to go to Liverpool to ensure that they have their passports in time for pre-booked holidays.
Mr Robertson said: “This issue could be resolved in Scotland with the-reopening and re-staffing of our passport office – a solution the Home Secretary failed to consider.”
It has been reported that passport office staff are facing a backlog of around 500,000 applications.