HL Deb 13 July 1989 vol 510 cc509-10WA
Lord Molloy

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why a person disabled from birth by the effects of thalidomide is not eligible for a disabled driver's parking permit; and whether they will reconsider such eligibility.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretarty of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

The Orange Badge Scheme was designed as a national scheme to assist disabled people with permanent and severe mobility problems to park close to places they wish to visit. Thalidomide people who meet the mobility qualification have, and will continue to have, an Orange Badge.

A review into the effectiveness of the working of the scheme was instigated in August 1986. The department issued a discussion paper which summarised possible changes that had been suggested by the local authorities and others. This included the possibility of extending eligibility for the first time to people with upper limb disabilities.

We have accepted advice and representations from the statutory Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) that badges must continue to be restricted to people with permanent and severe mobility problems.

The committee's constituent organisations include the Joint Committee on Mobility for the Disabled, the Disabled Drivers Association, the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and the Disabled Drivers Motor Club. The majority of DPTAC's members are people with disabilities.

The Government are taking further medical advice on whether there are any mobility problems specific to thalidomide victims. Officials have met with the Thalidomide Trust and are in touch with the Thalidomide Society. An announcement will be made as soon as possible on the outcome of this further consultation as it affects the eligibility of thalidomide victims in relation to the mobility criteria of the scheme.