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Dec 09 2015

Bob Says: Blue Badge Applications “…intentionally far too difficult”

bob_blackmanBob Blackman has highlighted the problems many disabled and elderly residents in Harrow are experiencing in getting Blue Badges to allow them access to designated parking spaces for those with mobility issues.

He took the opportunity to raise a few of the many cases which have been brought to his attention, including Suzanne Bard, an 83 year old widow from Bentley Priory with severe medical issues and 8 supporting letters from medical professionals, Joyce Richiardi from Stanmore who is 93 years old with severely restricted mobility, and Caterina Gargono, also from Stanmore, who is aged 80 and cannot walk long distances.

These represent just a few of the many cases brought to his attention where people have extremely strong cases, but have been refused by the external operator Access Independent, who are based in Cambridge, without any consultation from doctors or other medical professionals and all diagnoses already obtained ignored.

Bob Blackman, commented: “I understand why Harrow Council has made efforts to toughen the entire system up, as spot checks are still finding people abusing the Blue Badge system by borrowing relatives’ passes or, worse, using them after their relative has passed on. However the problem is that it has gone too far the other way, with genuine Blue Badge applications being denied and the process for getting one made intentionally far too difficult.

I called this debate to find out if the Department has issued any changes have been made to the rules operating the issue of Blue Badges and to highlight a problem which is seriously affecting the quality of life of some of my most vulnerable constituents.”

Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport stated, during the debate, that: “local authorities are ultimately responsible for the administration of the scheme so it remains the responsibility of each local authority to determine their own assessment procedures and ensure that their procedures are in line with the legislation that governs the blue badge scheme.”

The Blue Badge scheme was created to “give free and dedicated parking close to amenities for drivers and passengers with mobility-related disabilities or who are blind”. Those with this permit are able to park on yellow lines for up to three hours and are also exempt from the central London congestion charge. A pass is valid for a maximum 3-year period and pass-holders have to re-apply after that.

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1 comment

  1. sonoo malkani

    Couldn’t agree more!The pendulum has swung the other way completely and some of us are suffering needlessly simply because we have no recourse.I had Blue Badge for eight years on genuine medical grounds.If anything,my problems have escalated and I have some illnesses added on top of what I already suffer.I do not know what it is to live pain free even for a single day and try to soldier on bravely.No matter how much treatment I take or medication the quality of my life has definitely deteriorated.

    My Blue Badge was taken off me in January 2015 making ordinary everyday tasks like shopping for groceries,hospital visits and all sorts of activities really challenging.I have to walk much further in pain and feel penalised very unfairly.

    What’s the point of your Doctor or GP checking and confirming the extent of your suffering if nobody tales the blindest bit of notice!I am fighting my way through pain on many occasions but have to hide it just so I do not end up home-bound and feeling really depressed.

    I am all for catching out those who abuse or defraud the system but find it disgraceful nobody seems to care about those of us in genuine need.I hope Bob Blackman and the others who are in a position to fight our case will succeed and get us the relief we so badly need.

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