Just when you thought it was safe, along comes another consultation exercise by the Government. The Blue Badge Consultation is being managed by the Department of Transport on behalf of the Government and runs between 9 July and 2 October 2012. The consultation forms part of the Government’s review of the welfare system and the following is the Introduction to the consultation document prepared by Norman Baker MP, Minister for Transport:
“The Government is taking forward important reforms to the welfare system. One of these reforms will involve changes to Disability Living Allowance and will affect eligibility for a Blue Badge. About a third of all badges are currently issued to people who receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. My Department is therefore seeking your opinions on the options we have for dealing with the impact of the changes.
I am committed to ensuring that the Blue Badge scheme continues to be focused on those people who will benefit most from the parking concessions that it offers, and that it is sustainable in the future. I hope that you are able to let us know what you think of the options presented in this consultation document, before I make a decision on the best course of action.”
According to a supporting statement issued by Norman Baker MP, about a third of all Blue Badges are currently issued to people who receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). His Department is consulting on the options for dealing with the impact of the proposed changes and this consultation only covers arrangements for England. The statement goes on to note that the Department is committed to ensuring that the Blue Badge scheme continues to be focused on those people who will benefit most from the parking concessions that it offers, and that it is sustainable in the future.
In seeking to address how the scheme will operate in the light of the forthcoming implementation of Personal Independence Payments (the replacement to DLA), the Department has identified 3 options, namely:
- Option 1 – no legislative link between eligibility for a Blue Badge and eligibility to Personal Independence Payment,
- Option 2 – establishing a legislative link between Blue Badge eligibility and the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment,
- Option 3 – establishing a legislative link between Blue Badge eligibility and those who score 8 points or more within the ‘Moving Around’ activity within Personal Independence Payment. This assesses a person’s physical ability to get around.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, the Government’s preferred option is Option 3. The Government’s view is that with this option, eligibility for a Blue Badge would be most similar to the current scheme and the potential impacts of this option are minimal. You will note the immediate link to the ability to score more than 8 points under the Moving Around Activity under PIP. Once again, it will be necessary for amputees to demonstrate/highlight the issues that they face in moving around on a daily basis through the provision of evidential data (i.e. the diary we have previously suggested).
Although Option 3 is the preferred way forward, the Department will consider this in light of views and comments received as part of the consultation, together with suggestions for other practical and sustainable solutions.
The consultation concludes on 2 October 2012. PIP will be introduced for new claimants aged between 16 and 64 from April 2013 onwards and it will begin to replace DLA for existing recipients aged between 16 and 64 from October 2013 onwards. Any consequential changes to the Blue Badge scheme will also be phased in and will affect existing badge holders when an existing badge expires and they need to apply for a new one.
You can respond individually to the consultation by writing to:
Department for Transport
Great Minister House
33 Horseferry Road
or by email to email@example.com
Limbless Association response
Alternatively you can send your views to us to help us put forward a representative view to the DoT.
Please send in your views by 26 September 2012 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them to:
Unit 16, Waterhouse Business Centre
2 Cromar Way
Essex CM1 2QE