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Drivers are waiting months for blue badges

blue badge and clock

A move which has seen council employees working from home is leaving disabled drivers waiting ages for their blue badge.

Potential permit holders in East Sussex, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Sheffield and Tower Hamlets areas have been waiting up to three months for their badges.

Past pandemic has seen 95 percent of councils wanting to reintroduce viral and hybrid working arrangements according to the Local Government Association.

Laurie Kuhrt from East Sussex applied for a blue badge on behalf of his wife early May, the couple are still having to pay to park.

Kuhrt, 81, told The Telegraph: “My wife is increasingly incapacitated with Alzheimers disease… She’s not able to walk unaided and the application went on May 12 and on July 31 I got the first response from them.”

He was told by the council they received a wrong document from him, the correct one needed to be sent by post opposed to email, which triggered a two month delay.

Defending the wait, an East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “In line with the rest of the country, East Sussex has seen a large increase in the number of blue badge applications in recent years… There is currently a 12-week time frame for completed applications due to the high volume being received, coupled with delays caused when supporting documents required are not initially supplied.”

But, Sheffield City Council admitted they were experiencing “staffing issues” setting them back a 12 week delay.

Tower Hamlets Council blamed a “large number of applications being submitted” on the backlog.

Andy Martin, an independent member of Liberal Democrat-led Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, said the Dorset authority was trying to cut waiting time down to eight weeks.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “For some older people, having a blue badge makes all the difference between being able to get out and live a full life, and being stuck at home… That’s why it is so disappointing to hear of such long waits to get a blue badge, especially as older people do not usually have time on their side.

“We know that local authorities are under huge pressure and that the resources given to them by the Government are no match for soaring demands for many of their services, but we hope they will do everything they can to speed up their application processes.

“As things are, we worry that by the time some older people receive their blue badge they will have lost the confidence and capability to make best use of it.”

[ To check if you are eligible for a blue badge visit the Gov.uk website ]

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