Brighton & Hove City Council has been awarded £183,000 from the Government to help enforce laws aimed at ensuring there are enough disabled parking spaces in the city for those for genuinely need them.
RECENT REPORTS highlighted the prevalence of blue badge fraud across Brighton and Hove with 79 people using badges that belonged to people who had dies and around 1 in 5 blue badges estimated to be in illegal use.
In 2012, Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven, introduced a Private Members’ Bill entitled the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Bill, which was passed into law, and came into effect in late 2013.
The Act contains a number of specific measures to resolve problems with blue badge fraud, including:
* Provide local authorities with a power to cancel badges that have become lost or stolen or which are no longer in the holder’s possession.
* Extend local authority inspection powers to officers in plain clothes;
* Enable local authorities to recover badges that have been cancelled, have expired, are misused by a third party or are fake;
* Remove ambiguity from existing Blue Badge misuse offences so that it is clear that it is an offence to use a badge that should have been returned to the issuing authority;
* Extend eligibility for a badge to Armed Forces personnel and their families resident overseas on UK bases who meet the qualifying criteria for a badge
Mr Kirby said: “I am delighted at the announcement that Brighton and Hove City Council has been awarded £183,000 of funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government to combat blue badge fraud.
“This is an area that is close to my heart. In 2012 I introduced a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament, which has since become law, to make it easier for Local Authorities to tackle this particular issue. I am a firm believer that disabled parking spaces should only be for people who are genuinely disabled, and have a real need for the parking space.”
Disability groups and local authorities across the country gave their backing to Simon’s Bill, including, Manchester City Council, East Cheshire Council, Sussex Roamability, Disability North, Disability Action Yorkshire and the Spinal Injuries Association.
Mr Kirby, concluded, saying: “Having seen statistics showing the prevalence of blue badge fraud in the city, I am looking forward to the City Council using both their new powers and the recent funding, to take the fight to those people who are fraudulently using blue badges thus depriving genuinely disabled residents.”