MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Her Majesty's Passport Office has been making multi-million pound profits by overcharging for passports despite unacceptably long delays in processing applications, the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons stated in a report published Tuesday.
"Whilst it is right applicants are asked to cover the cost of the passport, it is clear the price they are paying is too high, which is resulting in repeated, large surpluses," the Committee said in the Report "Her Majesty's Passport Office: delays in processing applications" published on the UK Parliamentary website. "The state should not be exploiting its citizens by making a profit on what is a basic right."
It revealed that HM Passport Office was left with a backlog of nearly 550,000 applications earlier this year, which forced some travelers to cancel their holidays, or pay extra fees for a fast-track application service.
The Passport Office had a target of completing 99.75 percent of applications within 15 days. However, it fell to 72 percent in June. The backlog currently stands at around 90,000 applications.
The report condemned a complete office management failure and called for compensation for those holidaymakers who were forced to pay more money to get their passports in time. Moreover, the Committee said the Home Office should remove agency status from Her Majesty's Passport Office and bring it back under the direct control of Ministers.
HM Passport Office is an executive agency sponsored by the Home Office. The agency is the sole issuer of UK passports and responsible for civil registration services.