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Passport overtime bill hits £3m

The cost of overtime at the beleaguered Passport Office in the first five months of the year is nearly double what it was in the same period last year, leaving taxpayers with a £3 million bill.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire revealed that staff ran up overtime costs of £3,198,847 in the first five months of this year, compared to £1,500,905 in the same period last year.

Extra staff have been drafted in to deal with a backlog of 30,000 passport applications and Home Secretary Theresa May was last month forced to issue an apology to people whose travel plans had been disrupted by the delays.

HM Passport Office says it has been dealing with the highest demand in 12 years, with the summer surge in applications starting earlier than usual.

Mr Brokenshire revealed the figure in response to a written parliamentary question from shadow immigration minister David Hanson.

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