Today Baroness Thomas of Winchester will pilot her Private Member’s Bill on disabled people’s parking badges through the Lords at its second reading. Here she explains what it is and how it will improve the lives of disabled people
THIS Private Member’s Bill I’m taking through the Lords has sneaked through the Commons with barely anybody noticing. On a quick reading of it, it doesn’t look very interesting but it should transform the whole Blue Badge enforcement landscape.
These badges allow over 2.6m disabled people to park close to where they want to go. But there is now a battle being fought to stop abuse of the scheme by the copying and forging of badges, changing the expiry date on badges, failing to return and continuing to use badges after the expiry date, and the misuse of genuine badges by unauthorised people such as family members or carers.
Reform is now necessary, as the National Fraud Authority estimates that abuse of the scheme is costing local authorities up to £46m a year in lost parking revenue.
Some changes have already been made to the scheme such as the setting-up of a national database, but other powers are needed to clarify the law, and this is what my Bill does. Local authority plain clothes enforcement officials are being given power to inspect and recover badges, which the local authority can then cancel. Another welcome change is the extension of the Blue Badge scheme to disabled members of the armed forces community on UK bases abroad.
Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.