Boris Johnson has threatened to “privatise the arse” off the Passport Workplace if it can not clear its backlog and ship higher worth for cash, a senior authorities supply has informed reporters.

The prime minister additionally put the Driver and Automobile Licensing Company (DVLA) and different “arm’s size” our bodies on discover in feedback to cupboard ministers, in keeping with the supply who attended Tuesday’s assembly.

There had been an unprecedented surge in demand after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions as a result of 5 million folks had delayed renewing their passports through the pandemic.

Below post-Brexit EU journey guidelines, UK residents will need to have not less than three months’ validity remaining, which threatens to place extra pressure on the system.

It comes amid fears of summer season of journey chaos with Brexit queues at Dover and concern concerning the routine cancellation of flights.

Johnson is known to be “horrified” on the backlog in coping with passport purposes and can summon the company’s management for pressing talks at No 10 subsequent week.

He’s mentioned to be involved that households eager to go on summer season holidays are underneath strain to pay as much as £100 further per passport for fast-track purposes due to delays.

Pressed on whether or not privatisation was an possibility for the Passport Workplace, Johnson refused to rule it out in an interview with TalkTV. “I’m not going to rule something out. I don’t thoughts if it’s public or non-public, what I would like is to ship worth for cash and assist hold folks’s prices down,” he mentioned.

“Once I see establishments not delivering issues like passports or driving licences in a speedy method … we would like motion.”

The supply cautioned that privatisation wouldn’t be the place to begin, however warned that Downing Road might look to companies to take over if passport bosses couldn’t meet the 10-week goal for normal purposes costing £75.50.

Johnson was additionally mentioned to have criticised “post-Covid mañana tradition” at a few of the our bodies for not adapting after the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

In addition to the Passport Workplace, MPs have been elevating issues over important delays in turning spherical purposes for licences on the DVLA.

Heathrow Airport’s chief govt, John Holland-Kaye, mentioned it was “very important” that individuals might go on vacation this summer season in case the UK reintroduced coronavirus journey restrictions.

“Usually the Passport Workplace could be very slick in processing passports. It’s actually disappointing to listen to [about delays].

“If it’s not resolved, it will imply that individuals can’t get away.

“After two years of lockdown, we want to verify folks can have an excellent vacation as a result of lots of them have vouchers that they’ve been saving up, they’ve bought journeys of a lifetime that they’ve placed on maintain, and we don’t know when issues would possibly get closed down once more.

“Benefiting from the summer season is significant,” he mentioned.

On Monday, the Commons heard about one lady who had waited greater than 5 months to obtain her daughter’s new passport, and companies have been branded “both actually superb or an absolute shambles”.

The SNP house affairs spokesperson, Stuart McDonald, mentioned: “All our constituents are having to cancel holidays, miss funerals, rearrange visits, with even a brand new 10-week goal routinely being failed.

“What shall be finished to keep away from this predictable mess getting worse? And might we be assured that the 10-week goal is not going to be lengthened additional as we method the summer season?”

Residence workplace minister Kevin Foster mentioned: “We don’t have any intention to additional prolong that normal.

“We’re in the intervening time processing most passports effectively inside it, however we’d advise folks it is a very, nearly unprecedented surge in demand, and if individuals are planning to journey this summer season we’d advise them to get their utility in as quickly as potential.”

He mentioned the Passport Workplace handled 1,000,000 purposes final month, in contrast with 7m a yr earlier than the pandemic.

Conservative MP Simon Hoare described the backlog as “unprecedented, true, however foreseeable, completely”.

The PCS union, which represents Passport Workplace and DVLA workers, mentioned there’s a backlog of purposes owing to lack of workers, poor administration and failures with non-public contractors. HMPO deliberate to recruit 1,700 workers, with 450 in situ by the tip of 2021. Solely 300 have been in place by the tip of the yr, they usually have been company workers, the PCS union mentioned.

The union’s common secretary, Mark Serwotka, mentioned: “It’s clear to our members {that a} essential service just like the Passport Workplace must be correctly resourced. It’s absurd for Boris Johnson to threaten to privatise HMPO, when it’s clear that the present issues are primarily all the way down to elevated casualisation of the workforce.

“Many individuals are determined to now begin travelling once more, and so I’d name on the Residence Workplace to fulfil their duties to the UK public and adequately fund the service, bringing the entire course of again in home.”

TUC Common Secretary Frances O’Grady mentioned: “Privatising these companies would power folks to pay a premium for personal revenue, [adding to the cost of their passports and driving licenses]. That’s the very last thing working folks want in a value of residing disaster. Boris Johnson and his ministers are chargeable for operating these companies. As an alternative of constructing unhealthy coverage on the hoof, he ought to name in his ministers to resolve why they’re doing such a nasty job.”