Transport minister Paul Clark has announced that £55 million will be spent over the next three years on improving the current Blue Badge scheme that allows disabled drivers easier access to facilities.
At present there are 2.3 million permits in issue compared to 700,000 twenty years ago. Many are issued on the approval of family doctors. One in 200 of permits are stolen every year and illegally change hands for as much as £1500 each. The government also want to make it harder for badges to be forged. Many are photocopied on colour scanners, it is reported that bar codes and anti fraud ink will be added to make forgery more difficult. There will be new statutory powers introduced to allow traffic wardens to seize illegal badges, at present only police can seize permits.
Along with cutting crime the government wishes to extend the scheme to include seriously disabled Armed Forces personnel and veterans, people with temporary but serious mobility problems, young children with specific disabilities and individuals with severe mental impairments.