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WATCH.....................WATCHDOG.............NOW BADGES...................

(3 Posts)
RTKangaMummy Tue 27-Feb-07 19:06:51

NOW

Davros Tue 27-Feb-07 19:08:13

Dynamite! About time too....

RTKangaMummy Tue 27-Feb-07 19:13:08

27 February 2007
Parking can be difficult at the best of times. But for lots of families it's more than just an inconvenience.

The disabled blue badge scheme currently enables 2 million people with disabilities to park in specially marked bays and on single yellow lines, so they have better access to services and amenities. However, under current government legislation, families with disabled children under two years old don't qualify.

Kelli-Ann Rushton's one-year-old daughter, Jessica, was born with a condition called hip dysplasia. Her hips didn't form properly, so she now needs to wear a special heavy plaster cast to keep her legs in place as her hips heal. Her legs are extremely fragile, so Kelli-Ann needs to be incredibly careful when she takes her daughter in and out of the car. The car door needs to open as wide as possible, to avoid the risk of knocking her feet and dislocating her hip again.

Having a blue badge would certainly have made life much easier for Kelli-Ann and Jessica, to have access to banks, shops, and for her hospital visits, but she was refused.

Rachel Dorsey's family also desperately needed a blue badge. Her two-year-old daughter, Grace, was born with a rare disorder. She has to be fed through a tube directly to her stomach, and has a tracheostomy to help her breathe. Rachel has to carry a lot of medical equipment whenever she leaves her home, to keep Grace alive.

She should be an obvious candidate for a blue badge. But when Rachel applied to the local council, which runs the scheme according to the government's rules, because of Grace's age she was also told she couldn't have one.

When Grace reached her second birthday, Rachel applied for a blue badge again… and was rejected again - this time because the Government won't give a badge to anyone whose disability isn't permanent.

Doctor's hope Grace will get better as she grows older. Rachel hopes that she won't need a blue badge forever, but she does need one now.

In 2002 the Government said it would improve the blue badge scheme. One of its promises was that children under two who need bulky medical equipment, like Grace, would become eligible. But four years down the line the Government has done nothing. The charity Contact a Family estimates that this means at least 24,000 families have now missed out because of the delays.

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