MONMOUTH Assembly Member Nick Ramsay is pressing the Welsh Government to speed up the reform of the Blue Badge scheme after receiving further complaints from constituents who say the process is taking far too long.
Speaking today, Mr Ramsay said:
“Despite the Welsh Government’s recommendations to reform the scheme, many elderly constituents continue to encounter problems in renewing their Blue Badges. One constituent, who has a permanent disability, had to appeal to the Independent Assessors before his Blue Badge was renewed. Whilst his appeal was successful, the whole process was a waste of time and money for all concerned, and many people may not be able to fight to retain their badges as he had to do,
“Blue Badges play a very important role in enabling many often elderly or vulnerable people to live a full and independent life and it’s unfair that people with genuine mobility problems are continuing to have to struggle to have their badges renewed.
“Something is clearly going badly wrong with this process. I will be writing to the Minister again to ask that improvements recommended by the Blue Badge Task and Finish Group be implemented much more swiftly. “
LOCAL Assembly Member Nick Ramsay is calling for the Welsh Government to move faster to reform the Blue Badge scheme to help many of his Monmouthshire constituents. Many elderly constituents have encountered difficulty renewing their Blue Badges due to problems with the “toolkit” introduced in August 2014 and which has not been implemented consistently across Wales.
Speaking today, Mr Ramsay said:
“Blue Badges play an important role enabling many people across Monmouthshire to live independent lives. The administrative process for renewals needs to be streamlined and enforcement for fraudulent use improved.
“I’m very concerned that reform is taking so long given the importance of Blue Badges to many vulnerable people in our local communities. The Welsh Labour Government’s recent statement on this issue, whilst welcomed, only indicates to me that real reform will take some time to achieve. In the meantime many elderly people with genuine mobility problems continue to struggle to have their badges renewed.”
MONMOUTH Assembly Member Nick Ramsay has welcomed a statement from the Welsh Government Minister for Transport, Edwina Hart AM, that a new Task and Finish group has been set up to review the Blue Badge scheme in the light of numerous complaints from members of the public.
Mr Ramsay has written to both the Minister and Monmouthshire County Council following complaints from constituents about changes in the rules, which resulted in some holders’ applications for renewal being turned down despite the fact they had been using their badges for a number of years.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Ramsay said:
“According to the Minister, the rapid review of the Blue Badge scheme identified that both England and Scotland had already removed GPs from the assessment process, using an independent medical assessment instead. Wales has now adopted a similar approach and is encouraging local authorities to remove GPs from the assessment process as their clinical workload is extremely heavy.
“Despite this, there continue to be a number of complaints from people who have been refused a Blue Badge, and the review found that in some complex cases, local authority staff lacked the specific skill base to scrutinise the applications to confirm eligibility.
“In the hope of resolving the situation and ensuring everyone is treated fairly, the Minister has asked former AM Val Lloyd, a senior health academic and practitioner to chair a Task and Finish group to review the scheme.
“The group will consider the current operation of the scheme in Wales and experience in the other devolved administrations before providing the Minister with recommendations for improving the scheme in Wales by October.
“I will continue to monitor the situation and hope that very soon these problems can be resolved.”