§ Mr. McCrindle
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how long it is taking to process an application for a passport in the Peterborough office; how many applications are being received per day; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Luard
It is currently taking seven weeks to process non-urgent passport applications at the Peterborough passport office. Since February of this year that office has received between 1,500 and 2,000 passport applications each day together with about 200 applications for other passport services. It is as a result of this unprecedented increase in demand, which was as much as 81 per cent. in April, that processing time has extended so far beyond the normal four-week period. Additional staff have now been taken on and other urgent steps are being taken to find measures to avoid a recurrence of the difficulties.