BORIS Johnson has threatened to “privatise the a**e” off the Passport Office if it keeps causing holiday hell.
Jet-set Brits are forced to wait ages to renew their documents or pay through the nose to prioritise their application.
The PM told Cabinet he was “horrified” by the scale of the groaning backlog and will haul in bosses to bang heads together.
He even mooted putting the Passport Office on the market if it did not up its game and offer better value for money, government sources said.
He could also call in an army of private companies to add more manpower.
Standard renewals cost £75 with the aim of giving people a new passport with a 10-day turnaround.
But families desperately requiring a new passport for summer holidays are under pressure to fork out £100 to get one fast-tracked.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “This is a serious issue facing families and one that needs to be gripped.
“That’s his focus and he’s ensuring that those responsible will be able to make sure they’re doing everything possible to clear this backlog and help hardworking families get to get their passports and get on holiday.”
Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said it was vital the Passport Office turned things around.
He said: “Normally the Passport Office is very slick in processing passports. It’s really disappointing to hear (about delays).
“If it’s not resolved, it is going to mean that people can’t get away.”
Airline chiefs are already bracing Brits for a summer of travel chaos because of a lack of border staff to conduct checks.
Flights are also being cancelled last-minute because of crew shortages, many of whom left during the pandemic.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today vowed to lean on industry chiefs to iron out the problems.
He told Times Radio: “I am concerned and I’m going to be meeting with some of the airlines who have been routinely cancelling.
“I’m sure it’s in their interest as is the travelling public to see them get their schedules back together, and I’m meeting with them this week to understand their plans to bring the schedules back together.
“We need to get reliability back into the system again.”
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