Blue badge levy branded ‘outrageous’

Anger over blue badge decision
Anger over blue badge decision

Angry community leaders are calling on Fife Council to scrap a contentious decision to charge disabled residents £20 for their parking permits.

The local authority decided last month to add the administration charge to all applications for blue badge permits as part of a raft of measures to meet the Council’s £77 million budget shortfall.

It’s the Council targeting the disabled in a bid to balance their books and we think that is unjust and unfair

Ian Robertson

But a number of community groups in the town have been incensed by the decision and have called it an “outrageous and unnecessary charge on the disabled”.

Ian Robertson, chairman of the Glenrothes Area Residents Federation, along with members of the Auchmuty and Dovecot Tenants Association have arranged a public meeting in Glenrothes next week to call for the levy to be thrown out.

“It’s the Council targeting the disabled in a bid to balance their books and we think that is unjust and unfair,” Mr Robertson told the Gazette.

The charge will not come into force until April 2016 but campaigners say they want the idea scrapped immediately and have written to David Ross, Fife Council leader, to commit to alternative ways of raising money to bridge the deficit. And along with councillors the leader has been invited to attend the public meeting being n Glenrothes next week to discuss the issue.

“The consultation regarding this was appalling, nobody knew about it, the disabled need to be supported not penalised,” said Mr Nelson, who claims to have spoken to over 100 peopel who rely on the free parking permit.

This will hit thousands of Fifers in the pocket and where do the charges stop?”

Fife is one of only three regions in Scotland not to charge for the blue badges.

Anne Cowan, lead professional for Accessible Transport & Concessions, said the council had a statutory duty to administer and enforce the Blue Badge Scheme.

“The badges are given for a three year period which equates to less than £7 per annum and badge holders currently benefit from a wide range of parking concessions across Fife,” she said.

“This could allow Fife Council to make significant savings over the coming years and potentially generate around £120,000 per annum while keeping us in line with other councils around Scotland.”

The meeting is at the CISWO, North Street, Glenrothes on April 22 from 7.00 p.m.