§ Ms Oona King
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the average length of time taken by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to process travel document applications; 
(2) what steps he is taking to reduce the length of time taken by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to process travel document applications. 
§ Mrs. Roche
New applications have, since September, been dealt with under a fast track procedure and the majority are being resolved within four weeks of receipt. But there are around 7,000 applications made between January and August 1999 still outstanding. Work on these applications is progressing steadily but it will be some months before they are all cleared, due to a threefold increase in the number of new applications. The number of staff in the section has increased threefold in recent months, and output has increased fivefold.