TWO more Bradford families face an anxious wait to confirm their foreign holiday plans after being caught up in the ongoing Home Office delays in processing UK passports.
A growing number of people across the district have now been affected by the backlog of passport applications, which was said by the Government to stand at more than 30,000 as of yesterday.
As we reported last week, MPs across the Bradford district have been battling to help local people get their passports and now the issue has been taken-up at a national level.
Passport applications normally have a turnaround deadline of three weeks, but single parent Laura Garbutt, 30, of Allerton, has been waiting more than four weeks for first-time passports for her three young children, Leah, Ellie and Kady.
She used the recommended 'check and send' system and also tried to pay extra to get the applications fast-tracked, but was told yesterday they were still in a queue "awaiting inspection," leaving her trip to Spain next Friday in doubt.
"My sister renewed her passport just before me and got hers back in two weeks, so I never thought there would be a problem," she said.
"Trying to get an answer has been very frustrating, staff have just been ignorant to me. I've been that wound up that I've barely been able to sleep.
"This was supposed to be a real family trip, and if we can't go, we'll all be devastated."
Diane Fox, 49, of Yeadon, is due to travel to Portugal next Saturday for a family holiday with her daughter, Hannah, and one-year-old grandson, Finlay - but a first-time passport for the toddler, applied for on April 24, has been rejected.
"The application was actually rejected on April 29, but we weren't told until Wednesday," she said. "We kept getting told it was in the system, on it's way, in the post, but now this.
"We're all in bits. Everyone has really been looking forward to the holiday and the thought of not going is just too distressing, it's overwhelming.
"We're angry at what has gone on, and panicking because we now have to start the whole process again. The whole thing is just ridiculous, a real mess."
In an emergency statement in the House of Commons yesterday, Home Secretary Theresa May insisted the Government was doing all it could to deal with the passport demand - said to be at its highest level for 12 years.
The Home Office said it was unable to comment on specific cases yesterday, but spokesman Paul Pugh said staff were working seven days a week to deliver passports within 24 hours of them being produced, with 200 back office staff moved to front line operations and 650 extra staff working on the customer helpline.