25th May, 2015
Anomaly in blue badge law
Looking after a friend or member of the family who is disabled can be a challenging experience.
The simple things that we all take for granted like going to the supermarket for our weekly groceries or getting into town for an afternoon can be difficult.
And while there has certainly been real progress over the years in providing greater support and improved facilities for those with disabilities there is still more to be done.
One notable example relates to the Blue Badge Scheme. For those of you unfamiliar with this initiative, it allows people with disabilities to access disabled parking spaces whether it is outside the shops, public facilities or on the street.
I was recently made aware that there is anomaly in the law, which means that many people with Down’s syndrome (DS) under the age of 16, are likely to be denied a blue badge because they can walk and thus do not meet the eligibility criteria.
However, my constituent who alerted me to this, informed me that while his son who has DS can walk, he also has low sensory awareness and is often unaware of the potential danger around him. Without a blue badge to access disabled spaces life is made very difficult for him and his parents.
If my constituent’s son lived in Wales he would automatically qualify for a blue badge due to a recent change in the law.
The Scottish Government consulted last year on extending the law up here in Scotland. There was overwhelming support for doing so but nothing has happened yet.
I have written to the relevant Government Minister asking him to look at where things are regarding a change in the law so that people like my constituent get the improved support they need to go about their daily lives.