Council’s new disabled driver charge under fire

A decision by the Labour-run council to charge disabled Southwark residents for the blue badge that allows them to park for free has come under fire from opposition Liberal Democrat councillors.

The move follows the recent decision by the Council’s cabinet to charge vulnerable residents for a range of care services they receive, including residents with mental health issues and the elderly.

The new £10 charge will take effect from next April and covers the production costs for the blue badge scheme which allows disabled drivers and residents to park free anywhere in the country and Europe.  The Council did not charge previously for this service.

A report to the Council cabinet that was agreed by ruling Labour councillors confirmed the charge would have a negative effect on disabled and black and ethnic minority residents in the borough.

Southwark Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Adult Social Care, Councillor Maria Linforth-Hall, said:

“This new charge for Southwark’s disabled residents is just the latest attack by the Labour council on some of the most vulnerable in our borough.

“We all understand that council budgets are under pressure and that tough decisions have to be made about what the Council spends residents’ money on.  But charging disabled and elderly people for more and more services that they need is not on.

“It hardly seems that Labour’s slogan of ‘A fairer future for all’ is serious when some of least well-off people in the borough, have to pay for more and more basic services.

“Southwark Liberal Democrats will continue to fight the corner of elderly and disabled residents in our borough.  It seems that Labour councillors can find £1million for the Tate Modern extension or £120,000 for their new ‘Director of Modernise’ yet says it has no money to help some of the most vulnerable in our community.”