Friday, 13 January 2012

Lib Dem Campaigner Given Assurances Over Blue Badge Fears

Leading Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat campaigner, Clare Blair has received assurances that national changes to the Blue Badge system, designed to prevent fraud, will not affect existing users.

Clare contacted Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Ian Manning, who represents East Chesterton because she was worried that existing disabled users might have to immediately changeover to new style badges leaving them without their permits.

She said: "It can take a long time to get a new or replacement badge and I was worried that the changes could have meant users having their service interrupted while the new badge was sent.

“I've received assurances that existing users won't be affected and current badges will continue until they expire. For new badge applications the process will remain exactly the same as before although new style badges will be issued. This is good news for all disabled people who rely on their badges."

The Department for Transport has launched changes to the badges to reduce the potential for fraud and misuse and to streamline administration of the scheme, which is carried out by local authorities. The move will save up to £20 million per year.

Other changes include the potential to increase the price of a badge from £2 to £10, to cover the cost of the new technology. But a decision will not be made on whether to pass this onto users until Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet meets in January.

Cllr Manning said: “I know how valuable these Blue Badges are for people with limited mobility and the thought that they might lose them while the new system is rolled out can be extremely worrying.

“The assurances Clare has been given will put a lot of minds at rest.”