The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed changes to the blue badge scheme announced by the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport today.
In a statement issued to Assembly Members (attached) the Minister announced that she will be issuing revised Regulations, which will become effective on 15 December, 2014, so that people who would receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) at the highest level for mobility activity but who are not of working age and therefore unable to apply for PIP will be eligible for a blue badge. She has also said that she will issue new supporting guidance for local authorities on the administration of the Scheme.
“These changes acknowledge a complaint I have been making for some time, that the scheme as it is currently drawn up discriminates against the elderly by placing unnecessary hurdles in their way to qualifying for a blue badge,” said Mr. Black. “My concern though is that the method chosen by the Minster to address that appears to be complex and time-consuming and may add to the administrative cost of issuing blue badges.
“It is not clear for example whether a local council will need to carry out their own Personal Independence Payment assessment for an applicant over the age of 65, as is currently done by the DWP for working age applicants. PIP assessments are carried out by medically-qualified professionals, but blue badge applicants are assessed by clerical staff who do not have equivalent qualifications.
“I am pleased that the Minister accepts that there is a problem but only time will tell whether her solution has addressed it adequately.”