A new task force to help councils tackle the fraudulent use of Blue Badges has been set up by the Government.
A review into Blue Badge fraud will also be carried out to help reduce the misuse of the scheme. The Local Government Association (LGA) estimates that the theft of Blue Badges had risen by 45% in the past year.
LGA transport spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett, said: ‘Theft and misuse of Blue Badges under the existing scheme is on the rise. Despite limited resources, councils are trying to crack down on dishonest motorists by prosecuting offenders and seizing Blue Badges suspected of being used illegally, so it is good that the Government has listened to our concerns and has committed to a review which will support councils in tackling fraudulent use.’
The Government also confirmed the Blue Badge scheme would be extended to cover those with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia or anxiety disorders.
Councils will receive an extra £1.7m in the first year of the programme to help manage the expected increase in applications.
Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, said: ‘It’s unacceptable that people with hidden disabilities still face discrimination when using disabled facilities like parking spaces.
‘Extending the Blue Badge scheme is a watershed moment in ensuring those with hidden disabilities are able to travel with greater ease and live more independent lives.’