THE passport office backlog wouldn’t be as bad if the government hadn’t decided to cut jobs in Newport three years ago, a union official has suggested.

Despite a campaign led by the Argus for the government to retain the office in its entirety, Newport passport office was downsized in 2011 with its postal application processing services stripped out and the workforce halved from 300 to 150.

Darren Williams, industrial officer for the Public and Commercial Services union, said the origin of the issues over the long term “are the cuts made to staff a couple of years ago”.

“This is the outcome of short term decisions over staffing levels within the passport office,” he said.

Mr Williams indicated staff in Newport are under increased pressure with greater demand for the counter service.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday said that up to 30,000 passport applications have been hit by delays.

“We have 300,000 extra applications than is normal at this time of year. We have increased massively the staff. The level of applications outside the normal three-week limit is less than 10 per cent of that 300,000,” he said.

*Are you a Gwent person whose passport application has been delayed? Get in touch on 01633 777251 or 01633 777219