HC Deb 09 July 1984 vol 63 cc688-9
12. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received about the present arrangements for the entitlement of an orange badge for disabled drivers.

Mrs. Chalker

The tightening up of orange badge eligibility rules to cut out abuse of the scheme was agreed in advance with organisations representing disabled people, who welcomed the changes. I have received representations about a small number of difficult individual cases. I have great sympathy for such cases, but no scheme can possibly cater for every kind of disability and still remain workable.

Mr. Atkinson

Has my hon. Friend had her attention drawn to the growing tendency of local authorities to replace car park attendants with the "Trust the Motorist" ticket-issuing machines, which disabled drivers, who would otherwise not be entitled to an orange badge, cannot reach, as a result of which they cannot park and shop? Will she draw this point to the attention of social services authorities charged with determining the mobility of orange badge applicants?

Mrs. Chalker

I have indeed noted that in some ticket display car parks the machines are sited at too high a level for a chair-bound person to reach, either to put in the money or to take out the ticket. We shall bring this to the notice of any local authority which is aware of its responsibilities in this regard. There is no reason why these machines cannot be sited at a slightly lower level.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Minister also bear in mind that often the machines put off disabled people from parking within car parks, as a result of which they resort to using their orange badges on roads with yellow lines? Surely there is a real need to consider whether these machines should be allowed at all, unless they are manned in such a way as to help the disabled to use these car parks.

Mrs. Chalker

My own experience, and that of many disabled people with whom I have discussed this matter, is that, on the whole, these machines are among the simplest to operate. The hon. Gentleman has obviously come across a form of machine that is not so simple. I hope that he will draw the details to my attention so that I can take the matter further.