The Welsh Liberal Democrats spokesperson on local government and equalities, Peter Black has accused the Welsh Government and local councils of failing to properly apply new regulations on blue badges so that many elderly and disabled people are missing out.
Mr. Black was speaking in after a large number of constituents have approached him about the way that rules are being applied by local councils.
Problems include requiring applicants to apply in person irrespective of their mobility problems, having unqualified staff carry out assessments because the Welsh Government will no longer pay for doctors to supply certificates, local councils refusing to use occupational health therapists to carry out assessments on appeal as required by Welsh Government guidance and the failure of Welsh Government to provide a promised toolkit on time to assist councils in processing applications.
"Like many other Assembly Members I have received a large number of representations from applicants for blue badges and their families angry that they have hit a wall of confusion and bureaucracy in seeking to navigate the application process," said Mr. Black. "I have written a number of letters to the Minister and to local councils in my region only to find that they contradict each other in their answers. It is little wonder that my constituents are angry about this mess.
"The Welsh Government say they cannot afford the £600,000 a year it was costing for doctors to carry out assessments for blue badges, whilst councils are arguing that they do not have the resources to fund guidance that says they must employ an occupational therapist to assess appeals. In the meantime a toolkit designed to help officers carry out assessments has not yet appeared and instead they are applying their own criteria.
"This is a disaster and the Minister needs to get a grip and sort it out."