Previous Section Index Home Page


Disability Vehicle Stickers

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action the Government are taking to reduce fraudulent use of the blue badge scheme. [29107]

Ms Keeble: There is a wide variety of powers available to local authorities, who are responsible for administering the blue badge scheme, for tackling fraudulent use. At present:


The issues of abuse and misuse of badges are a major part of a review of the scheme that we are currently undertaking.

In the meantime, it is open to anybody to bring instances of fraudulent use to the attention of the police, traffic wardens or the appropriate local authority and we will continue to work with these bodies and stakeholder groups to minimise the potential for abuse and misuse.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on disability vehicle stickers, which organisations have been consulted by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee as part of its review of the blue badge scheme. [29174]

Ms Keeble: The blue badge review discussion paper has been sent to major stakeholders, including disability organisations, local authorities and enforcement bodies in England and the devolved Administrations, whose authorities are collaborating with my Department. A list of those who received the paper has been placed in the

22 Jan 2002 : Column 711W

House. The paper is also available on request from the Department's Mobility and Inclusion Unit and on our website.

The Secretary of State for Transport has asked the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) to consider responses to the consultation and to report back to him with their recommendations.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on disability vehicle stickers, when he expects the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee to complete its review of the blue badge scheme. [29177]

Ms Keeble: The Secretary of State has asked the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) to consider the responses to a discussion paper issued by my Department and to report back with their recommendations by the end of April 2002.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on disability vehicle stickers, whether the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee is considering a reduction in the minimum period of issue of blue badges as part of its review of the blue badge scheme. [29175]

Ms Keeble: The main purpose of the review is to seek views on the future shape of the scheme by considering a range of issues which were identified in discussions with those most closely affected by it, including the minimum period of issue for blue badges. The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) have been asked to consider responses to the consultation and to report back to the Secretary of State with their recommendations having considered all the responses received.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on disability vehicle stickers, what representations the Government have received from (a) hon. and right hon. Members, (b) disability charities, (c) other charities and (d) others calling for an extension of the blue badge scheme to cover those individuals with temporary disabilities. [29176]

Ms Keeble: The discussion paper was issued on 14 December 2001 and the consultation period is due to end on 15 March 2002. The few responses which have been received so early in the consultation are currently being analysed. We will, however, keep the House informed as the review progresses.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on disability vehicle stickers, what criteria

22 Jan 2002 : Column 712W

are set down for local authorities to determine the eligibility of people applying for a disability vehicle sticker through the blue badge scheme. [29482]

Ms Keeble: The criteria which local authorities use for assessing eligibility for a disabled person's badge are set down in The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 [SI 2000/682].

These contain a prescribed description of disabled person to whom a local authority may issue a disabled persons' badge and are a person who is more than 2-years-old who falls within one or more of the following categories:


Patient Transport Services

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action the Government are taking to assist people suffering from balance difficulties, arising from cancer illness, to (a) travel to and from and (b) park at hospital clinics. [29106]

Ms Keeble: This is a matter for the Scottish Executive, but I understand from them that, essentially, the Scottish Ambulance Service Non-Emergency Service transports people to and from hospitals, clinics and day centres, and bases its provision on the medical need of the patient. In some of the more remote areas of Scotland, patient transport services are provided by community run schemes. The ambulance service's aim is to provide a seamless journey for patients with mobility problems and those who experience significant discomfort because of the nature of their medical condition, or the type of treatment they receive at hospital. To ensure that it continues to understand and meet the needs of its patients, it is currently reviewing and developing the way in which it provides and delivers non-emergency services to make them even more flexible and patient friendly.

Disabled Facilities Grant

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what guidelines and recommendations he has made to local authorities with regard to determining the value and suitability of discretionary grant awards under the disabled facilities grant; and if he will place copies in the Library; [29115]

22 Jan 2002 : Column 713W

Mr. Byers: Disabled facilities grants (DFG) are administered by local authorities who are under a statutory duty to approve or refuse an application within six months of the date of application. My Department does not collect data on the length of time taken by local authorities to consider applications.

Figures showing each English local authority's expenditure on DFGs, the average value of grant and the Government's DFG allocation over the last five years have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Section 23(1) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 sets out the purposes for which mandatory DFG must be approved. Discretionary DFG is available to make a dwelling or building suitable for a disabled occupant in any other respect. Paragraphs 31 to 36 of Annex I to DoE Circular 17/96, (copies of which have already been placed in the Library) gives examples. Paragraph 10 of that Annex also states that discretionary DFG may be paid where the costs of the adaptations exceed the maximum limit for mandatory DFG. There is no maximum limit on the amount which may be paid in the form of a discretionary DFG.

Section 36 of the Act provides that local authorities may delay the payment of DFGs up to 12 months after the date of application. Paragraphs 58 to 61 of Annex 1 to circular 17/96 advises that such a delay should only be made in exceptional circumstances when a particularly heavy caseload of applications is causing severe resource problems for the authority. It should not be made where adaptations are urgently required and where a delay would cause hardship or suffering to the applicant.


Next Section Index Home Page