§ 30. Mr. Awbery
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the hardship caused to the users of invalid carriages who have to use parking meters as a result of being unable to leave their cars outside the parking area because they cannot walk; and if he will take steps to exempt the users of these vehicles from such charges.
§ Mr. Awbery
May I take it that the Minister has given instructions to local authorities to exempt cases of this character? I have in mind a man who lost two legs, and when he goes into a parking place he has to pay to park his car there, which is equivalent to charging him for stowing his crutches while he is doing his job. If the Minister has given instructions to the local authorities to exempt these people, I shall be perfectly satisfied.
§ Mr. Hay
No, Sir; we have not given the local authorities instructions. We have given them power to exempt disabled drivers. It is for the local authority 380 itself to decide whether to give a general exemption to all disabled drivers or to give exemption only to those who apply for exemption and can justify it being given to them. That is the precise position, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will study my answer.
§ Mr. Dodds
What is the good of the Parliamentary Secretary saying what he has said when he knows only too well what the situation is? I have today had a letter from a constituent of mine who is badly disabled and will have to give up his job in the St. Pancras area because he cannot afford to pay the meter charges there. Ought not Parliament to be doing something in this respect for disabled people?
§ Mr. Hay
No, Sir; I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. The operation of parking meters under parking meter orders is for the local authorities, for they are the parking meter authorities. We see no reason to give general exemption, but we say that if people can satisfy local authorities that they deserve exemption because they are disabled, that is the correct course to follow.
§ Mr. Strauss
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether he is aware of any local authority which has refused to give exemption or of any case where there has been any difficulty? If a local authority has refused, might there not be a case for Parliament taking further action?