Anne McTaggart MSP backed Dennis Robertson MSP’s Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Bill (Scotland) during the Stage 3 debate at the Scottish Parliament on the 19th August.
The Bill aims to increase the number of parking spaces that are available to genuinely disabled people and therefore improve the quality of life of those who suffer mobility issues. It will also enable local authorities to cancel lost or stolen badges, confiscate those that have been misused and create a new offence of using a cancelled badge.
Ms McTaggart used her speech to highlight the benefits that this Bill will bring to disabled drivers but also to call for local authorities to be fully resourced to implement the bill’s provisions, including both the enforcement and review elements of the blue badge application process.
Ms McTaggart said “I have learned through the evidence that the Local Government and Regeneration Committee gathered through the progress of the bill that nearly 80 per cent of blue badge holders have directly experienced abuse of the system. The bill has the potential to reduce substantially the inconvenience that that causes disabled drivers.
I believe strongly that the Scottish Government should seek to work with key stakeholders, including local authorities, to ensure that the bill is implemented consistently across the country and does not cause unnecessary confusion among genuine badge holders.
I acknowledge Inclusion Scotland’s concerns that a disabled person or a carer may be criminalised when they inadvertently use a badge that has been cancelled. I am therefore grateful for recent assurances that no action will be taken against individuals in those circumstances. I am confident that that common sense approach will be maintained after the bill’s implementation, and I anticipate that genuine badge holders will benefit from the policy.”