10 weeks for a new passport, six months for tax rebate & delays for new driving licence as civil servants work from home
BRITS face weeks of delays for new passports, tax rebates or driving licences as civil servants continue working from home.
Renewing a passport could take ten weeks, jeopardising pandemic-weary holidaymakers’ trips abroad.Driving licence applications could take up to 10 weeks with staff working from home[/caption] Passport renewals have also been delayed with a surge in applications expected[/caption]
Tax rebates may take up to six months with delays of up to ten weeks for a paper driving licence application.
Copies of birth, marriage or death certificates will also be delayed with the government’s General Register Office for England and Wales unable to provide dates on when they will be posted out.
The Home Office had warned of delays since April following the easing of lockdown with a surge of applications expected.
The majority of civil servants won’t return full-time to the office under plans that would see some work just two days a week.
Plans could see officials work 30 per cent of the week in the office and 70 per cent at home, sparking fears of delays to services.
The DVLA says paper applications are taking up to 10 weeks to process.
Union strikes and working from home have been blamed for the jam in licences being sent.
The DVLA said: “We are currently operating with reduced staffing levels on site due to social distancing rules in Wales and ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union.
“Industrial action has been taking place since April and PCS is targeting a variety of areas within DVLA designed to have maximum negative impact on members of the public.
“This means that there are continuing delays with paper applications and in reaching our contact centre. There are no delays for those applying online.”
Brits who are owned a tax rebate have been hit by delays of up to six months in getting their money back.
An increased workload due to managing Covid payments and Brexit paperwork have been blamed.
An HMRC spokesman said previously: “We’re doing all we can to process self assessment rebate claims as fast as possible and are sorry to any customers who have waited longer than they expected.
‘We’re continuing to redesign our business to meet our customer demand needs in the most effective way, based on our available resource.”
Sun-seeking Brits’ holiday plans could be sunk by delays of up to 10 weeks to renew passports.
The figure is more than triple the usual wait of three weeks, with surge in renewals expected this year.
There were four million passport applications in 2020, down from seven million in 2019.
Officials apologised on social media after holidaymakers said they had been forced to cancel trips abroad as they were waiting for their documents.
Texts from the Home Office warned: “‘Reminder: It takes up to ten weeks to get a new passport. Don’t leave it too late, renew now.”
It’s understood a significant number HM Passport Office staff are working from home due to pandemic constraints.
BIRTH, MARRIAGE, DEATH CERTIFICATES
Ordering birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership and death registrations has also been impacted by the pandemic.
General Register Office has warned customers staff have been working from home to ensure social distancing in offices.
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The office has said: ‘In line with public health guidance, the General Register Office is operating with reduced staffing to comply with social distancing guidance.
“We remain committed to processing orders as fast as we can, however we will be unable to confirm when your order will be completed.
“If your order is not urgent, please apply at a later date so we can help those who need our services the most.”
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