Government launches Blue Badges fraud review

30 Aug 19

The government has launched a review to discover the scale of Blue Badge fraud and find ways to tackle it.

It hopes the findings of the review, launched today, will make it easier for councils to tackle misuse of the badges, which are a lifeline for more than two million people in Britain with disabilities.

At the end of last year, the Local Government Association warned that Blue Badge theft had nearly doubled in 12 months: 4,246 were stolen in 2018 compared to 2,921 the year before – a 45% increase.

This number was up six-fold from 2013.

LGA transport spokesperson Martin Tett said at the time that Blue Badge theft crime was “soaring”, and warned that “callous thieves and unscrupulous fraudsters… are robbing disabled people of [their] independence.”

Alongside the review, a task group will also be set up to improve the consistency of council enforcement.

The review, announced by transport minister Grant Shapps, coincided with the announcement that people with invisible disabilities such as autism or brain injury can now apply for Blue Badges.

Plans to extend the scheme were made last summer, and the move was hailed by head of policy and public affairs at the National Autistic Society Tim Nicholls as a “huge relief”.

He said he was “delighted” that people with invisible disabilities have now been made eligible for the badges, but said it is “absolutely essential” that council officials understand autism and the challenges autistic people face.

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