Brighton MP brings in bill to help disabled beat blue badge fraud

Posted On 19 Jun 2012 at 3:14 pm

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby will try to change the law to clamp down on the abuse of blue badges issued to disabled people.

Mr Kirby, a Conservative, has support from Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs as he prepares to present a private member’s bill in the House of Commons tomorrow (Wednesday 20 June).

Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, who is blind, is among those backing Mr Kirby’s Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Bill. Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne, is another.

The aim of the bill is to protect people who genuinely need a blue badge by clamping down on those who are abusing the present scheme by misusing badges.

The National Fraud Authority estimated that blue badge fraud could be costing councils up to £46 million a year.

Mr Kirby’s bill includes a number of measures intended to tackle this problem.

He said: “I know that many disabled people are frustrated when they cannot park because someone is misusing a badge.

“The changes contained within the bill will improve the credibility of the scheme and result in the greater availability of parking spaces, protecting the scheme for genuine badge holders who have the most need.”

The bill will

  • Give councils the power to cancel lost or stolen badges
  • Allow plain clothes staff to have inspection powers
  • Enable local authorities to recover cancelled, expired, misused or fake badges
  • Close loopholes that adversely affect members of the Armed Forces and their families
  • Send complaints about badges withdrawn for misuse to the Local Government Ombudsman rather than the Secretary of State

The government has already tightened the rules so that a badge can be withdrawn for misuse after one rather than three convictions.

The design of blue badges is now regarded as harder to fake and new national computer system is intended to eliminate multiple and fraudulent applications and make checks quicker and easier.

 

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