Holidaymakers have been warned to allow 10 weeks for new passports if they plan to travel abroad this summer.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Home Office has advised that the 10-week deadline introduced during the pandemic remains in place due to an “increased” and “volatile” demand for travel documents.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman reportedly told MPs: “We expect high demand for passports throughout the year – and demand can be volatile – so customers should continue to allow 10 weeks. I call on people to apply in good time and not at the last minute.”
It comes after figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats through parliamentary questions shared with the Telegraph said the number of passports lost by the Home Office was the highest in five years.
The Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse, told the newspaper: “These are new heights of incompetence for the Home Office. British travelers in urgent need of new passports are left in the lurch by these endless delays.
“With more and more passports going missing every year, it’s no wonder people are tired of this endless travel chaos.
“The Home Office must go a step further and take decisive action before more people are abandoned and lose confidence in these services.”
The release of these figures comes amid an increase in passport fees – which took effect last Thursday.
From 2 February, the cost of applying for a new UK passport has increased from £75.50 to £82.50 for adults and from £49 to £53.50 for children.
While postal applications for passports will increase from £85 to £93 for adults and £58.50 to £64 for children.
The government webpage said of the fee increase: “The new fees will help the Home Office move towards a system that recovers its costs through those using it, reducing its reliance on general tax funding .
“The government does not make a profit on the costs of passport applications.
“The fees will also help cover the costs of processing passport applications, consular support abroad, including for lost or stolen passports, and the costs of processing UK citizens at UK borders.
“The increase will also help the government continue to improve its services.”
It is the first time in five years that the cost of applying for a passport has risen, the interior ministry said, adding that the proposals are subject to parliamentary scrutiny.