Swansea Council has the worst record of all councils in Wales for turning down blue badge applications according to freedom of information answers sent to the Welsh Liberal Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black.
Mr. Black wrote to all 22 Welsh Councils to ask them for information as to how many applications they had received for blue badges in 2014 and how many were approved. Eight councils replied with the requested information, with the others saying that the information was not available in the specified format.
Swansea received 5,618 applications in 2014, of which 1,135 or 21% were refused. Rhondda Cynon Taf, which is of comparable size received 7,117 applications and refused 372 or 5% of them. Of the other councils who responded, the Vale of Glamorgan refused 8% of the blue badge applications they received, Monmouthshire 3%, Flintshire 7%, Newport 3% and Angelsey 1.3%.
"What is astonishing about these figures is that Swansea is effectively rejecting three times as many applications as any of the other councils that responded to me," said Mr. Black. "It is absolutely right of course that those who are abusing the system are weeded out, but the rate of rejection in Swansea suggests that something else is going on.
"The new guidance issued to councils by the Minister just before Christmas says that there is ‘evidence of inconsistent processes and decision-making’ across Wales. I think that in the light of the information on refusals and the many cases I have dealt with as an Assembly Member, Swansea Council needs to carry out its own review of processes and benchmark its own decisions against those of other councils so as to correct this imbalance."