The points system adopted by the Welsh Government to assess eligibility for blue badges is weighted against pensioners and the elderly, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member, Peter Black has claimed.
Mr. Black was speaking after the case of Don Jones of Manselton, Swansea was highlighted in today’s South Wales Evening Post. Mr. Jones is 89 years old. He is disabled after operations on both knees and two bouts of major surgery in a bid to fight cancer. He has held his blue badge for nearly eight years and recently had a disabled parking bay installed outside his home by the council. Despite that he has now been refused a renewal of that badge.
Mr. Black has written to the Welsh Labour Transport Minister posing a number of questions as to why the points system she has adopted discriminates against the elderly.
“The points system adopted by the Welsh Labour Government which councils are obliged to use in assessing eligibility for a blue badge is actually harsher than the controversial process used by ATOS to decide whether somebody should receive disability benefits,” said Mr. Black. “If a blue badge applicant receives certain benefits then they will qualify virtually automatically for a badge, but these particular benefits are not payable to somebody aged over 65.
“Councils are not allowed to award points to those in receipt of attendance allowance, which is a benefit often claimed by carers looking after the elderly whilst the discretion that is supposedly in the guidance of considering those with walking difficulties or breathlessness has no point allocation associated with it. Those factors in particular relate to the elderly and infirm.
“The only conclusion that can be drawn in my view is that the points system that has been adopted by the Welsh Labour Government is badly drawn up, ill-considered and designed to penalise those over the age of 65.”