A Southwark charity leader has said hit out at news that the council will start charging for blue badges from next year.
Local authorities have been allowed to charge for the special parking permits since 2012, but Southwark has only just taken the decision to levy a £10 fee for the badges as of April 2016.
“As pressures are growing on our finances, we have reluctantly decided to introduce a £10 charge which brings us in line with neighbouring boroughs,” said Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Southwark’s cabinet member for adult care and financial inclusion. “Unfortunately, severe budget reductions mean that councils have little choice but to charge for services that we would prefer to offer for free, and I hope that residents will understand the reasons for our decision.”
Once a badge is purchased it will last for three years, but Patrick Horan, chair of the Southwark Disablement Association, said this was just the latest way government spending cuts were hitting disabled people.
“I am afraid it’s always disabled people who bear the brunt of all cuts, as we are the easiest to cut even though we are the lowest percentile of income,” he said. “Subsidised transport is very important to disabled people. Ten pounds over three years does not sound a lot but if you add it to the previous cuts made to Taxi card by this council, it all adds up to keep the disabled a prisoner in their home.”