The decision followed a 12 week consultation exercise that examined, amongst other issues, how much Blue Badge users should be charged to cover the additional costs of introducing the new badge. The new Blue Badge will be harder to copy, forge and alter as a result of an improved design.
Carl Sargeant said:
“Disabled people in Wales are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in low income households and they face extra costs related to managing their impairments which could push individuals further into poverty.”
“In the Programme for Government we have made a commitment to reduce poverty amongst some of our poorest people and communities
“As a result I have decided not to impose a fee on individual Blue Badge users.
“To do this I am reviewing spending and looking for efficiencies in all areas – for example I am currently consulting on options that may deliver efficiencies in the way in which we publicise traffic orders.”
These efficiencies will enable the Welsh Government to provide funding for Local Authorities which will cover the increased cost of the new badge. Local authorities will be able to charge up to £10.00 for an Organisational Badge and lost badges.
This is in contrast to England and Scotland, where local authorities may charge up to £10 and £20 respectively for a Blue Badge.
Other improvements to the scheme will include plans to tackle misuse and abuse of the scheme which can have severe implications for genuine badge holders, as well as a new booklet setting out the badge holders rights and responsibilities.
The Welsh Government went out to consultation today on proposed changes to advertising traffic orders.