Blue Badge crime crackdown
* 55 million overhaul * 1 in 200 badges stolen * Worth 1500 on blackmarket...
The Government has announced their toughest crackdown yet on Blue Badge parking abuse.
The campaign is part of a 55 million overhaul of the disabled-parking scheme, and will allow councils to immediately confiscate stolen or forged Blue Badges.
Transport Minister Paul Clark claimed the overhaul was essential if Blue Badge crime was to be cut.
Mr Clarke said: Two thirds of councils tell us that abuse of the scheme is a major issue, and that one in every 200 badges in circulation are reported as stolen each year.
These badges are reportedly being sold on the blackmarket for up to 1500 a time, according to Government figures.
A national database of stolen Blue Badges will be created, to ensure that all local councils can identify stolen permits throughout the country.
The crackdown will also include a new system of assessing eligibility for the Blue Badge.
Dedicated medical assessors will ensure that only those who really need a permit receive one. The new teams will standardise the test and lighten the workload of GPs, who currently carry out the assessment.
The Government is also planning to extend eligibility to severely disabled armed forces personnel and veterans, people with temporary mobility problems, parents of children with specific disabilities, and those with severe mental impairments.