Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Friday, 30 November 2012

Govt urged to ‘crush’ blue badge fraudsters

Peers have reiterated calls for the government to crack down on the fraudulent use of disabled parking permits.

Measures to help enforce proper use of blue badges were debated in the House of Lords at the second reading of the Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Bill on 30 November 2012.

Former Labour minister Lord Touhig voiced his support for tougher rules, saying: "I'm only sorry that the bill does not give police powers to seize and crush the cars of motorists who take a disabled person's parking space - and frankly for me whether they remove the driver first is an option for them."

The bill would allow plain-clothed police officers to check the validity of permits on a national database of genuine holders and recover fake or cancelled badges.

The blue badge scheme would be extended to disabled armed forces personnel posted overseas and their families, under the bill's proposals.

This private member's bill - which applies to England and Wales - was introduced into the House of Commons by Conservative MP Simon Kirby and passed all stages in the lower house.

The debate in the Lords was led by Liberal Democrat Baroness Thomas of Winchester, herself a blue badge holder.

Baroness Thomas said: "As time goes on, the value of the badge becomes ever higher, sadly leading to an incentive to fraudsters to abuse the scheme."

She cited figures from the National Fraud Authority, which estimates the annual cost to local authorities of permit abuse at £46m.

Responding for the government, transport spokesman Earl Attlee said the changes were long overdue and an important step in the government's ongoing efforts to prevent abuse of the 40-year-old scheme.

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