Two reasons why it’s clear issue must be revisited

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Two different stories, two different scenarios, but both go to show that there are significant failings in the way the disabled parking badge scheme operates.

Yesterday we told how 92-year-old Kathleen Hall had her blue badge taken away from her after a change in the way assessments are made ruled she no longer needed one.

Despite the fact she struggles to walk with a stick and her own GP had declared her ‘severely disabled’, a therapist decided to revoke the badge which allows her to park for free close to shops and facility entrances.

While Mrs Hall clearly fell victim to the new way these vital parking badges are being handed out, it’s individuals like Michael Smith who have forced through the changes by abusing the system in the first place.

Here’s a man who dishonestly kept hold of his stepfather’s parking badge just to save himself the hassle and cost of paying to park his car like everyone else.

He isn’t disabled. The badge was never meant for him, yet when his relative died, he spotted an opportunity to take it and use it as if it was his own.

Thankfully, a vigilant investigator asked a few questions after suspecting that something didn’t stack up and Mr Smith’s fraudulent behaviour was exposed.

He’s been punished but we would suggest that magistrates should be given powers to confiscate the vehicles of those offenders who routinely try to get away with such scams.

It might seem harsh, but when you consider what the disabled parking badge means to those who genuinely need one, we believe tougher penalties are now needed.

The new government guidelines were introduced because too many people were claiming they needed a badge when they didn’t.

While it’s right that proper assessments should be made, we question the wisdom of not allowing those turned down to appeal straight away.

Mrs Hall’s family might have to wait six months before they can get someone to take another look at her case.

Who would deny this lady a badge? Few, if any.

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