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Cash-strapped Brits spent more than £5.4 million on fast track passports in just one month amid Covid backlogs.

Figures revealed in a parliamentary question show the number of people paying to speed up their applications per month has more than doubled since the end of last year, up from 21,124 in December 2021 to 44,386 in April.

Brits scrambling for urgent travel documents pay £122 for a child and £142 for an adult – at a cost of at least £5.4 million last month.

Online applications for a standard passport cost £75.50 for adults and £49 for children.

More than 198,000 bids for the one-week fast track service have been made over a six-month period, Home Office Minister Kevin Foster disclosed in a written answer.

And the Passport Office expects that to surge over the summer, with 240,000 applications between May and October.

If forecasts are correct, that would set back desperate Brits by up to £34 million.

Boris Johnson during a visit to CityFibre Training Academy in Stockton-on-Tees ( Getty Images)

The agency has been hit by an unprecedented surge in applications since international travel reopened after Covid restrictions.

Officials are braced for 9.5 million applications this year, with a record 1 million new passport applications in March alone, the Home Office said.

But the Cabinet Office identified both the Passport Office Contact Centre and passport delivery as areas experiencing delays according to a review of crucial Government contracts.

Boris Johnson threatened to “privatise the a***” out of the Passport Office last month, in a rant to Cabinet over delays facing holidaymakers.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper ( PA)

It comes after the Mirror recently revealed that couriers lost hundreds of passports and key documents despite the number sent out plummeting amid Covid travel curbs.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “British families are paying the price for Priti Patel’s shameful incompetence.

“We’ve heard from people with honeymoons at risk, sick children missing out on long-awaited holidays and families paying hundreds for fast-track passports which are delayed by couriers.

“People shouldn’t have to shell out more money during a cost of living crisis to speed up the process, it should be Priti Patel’s job to get a grip and sort this out.

“She knew more than six months ago that the Passport Office was having problems but did nothing to prevent the complete misery to families across the country. That is unacceptable and is letting the British people down.”

A HM Passport Office spokesperson said: “Urgent services are only required where an applicant needs a passport sooner than ten weeks. Since April 2021, we have clearly state people should allow up to ten weeks when applying for their British passport.

“We have more staff who are working tirelessly to meet this demand, processing almost two million passports in March and April ensuring the majority continue to be completed well within 10 weeks. If an application from the UK is past the ten weeks and the applicant is travelling in the next two weeks, we will prioritise their case at no additional cost.”

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