Council slammed for ‘sneaking in’ blue badge charge in East Dunbartonshire

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DISABLED people are being “taxed” by hard-hearted council chiefs, it has been claimed.

Pensioner Lawrence Murray was told he would have to pay £20 as an “administration fee” when he tried to renew his disabled parking badge at East Dunbartonshire Council’s social work office in Kirkintilloch.

Mr Murray (74), who has walking difficulties, says he’s never had to pay to renew his badge before and claims the new fine has been “sneaked in” by the council.

The Kirkintilloch pensioner, who has had his badge for 15 years, said: “It’s shocking that we’ve now got to pay to renew our badges and no-one seems to know about it.

“They are taxing disabled people and I would ask all disabled people in East Dunbartonshire to write to their MP, MSPs and councillors about it.”

East Dunbartonshire Council introduced the £20 administration fee after a new blue badge design was launched in Scotland earlier this year.

The new badges are designed to make it harder to tamper with, copy or forge them and include digital photographs.

John Simmons, director of community services at the council, said: “As with most local authorities across Scotland, an administration fee of £20 will be charged for the issue of each badge, which will apply to new applications and for renewal and replacement badges when a badge has been lost or stolen.

“This charge was introduced at the beginning of the year following the Blue Badge Reform Programme, set out by the Scottish Government.

However, Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland says it has not introduced the charges.

A spokesperson added: “Fees for blue badges are set by local authorities, up to a maximum of £20. This top rate was set by secondary legislation in 2007. This has not changed as part of the current reforms.”

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod said: “It was East Dunbartonshire Council’s choice to introduce this.

“It’s sad that it’s the vulnerable who are picking up the council’s cost savings.”

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