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Charity backs call for a review of Blue Badge eligibility criteria

Macmillan Cancer Support has welcomed calls to review who is eligible for Wales’ Blue Badge scheme, to help ensure the needs of people with cancer are being met.

The charity also welcomes the recommendation that an appeals process should be put in place.

The Blue Badge scheme provides a lifeline for people with various medical conditions and disabilities, helping them to access facilities within their communities.

The first recommendation made by a new report published today by the National Assembly for Wales’ Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, is for a review of the eligibility criteria for Blue Badges to make sure the needs of people with cancer are being adequately met.

The report also recommends that the Welsh Government should issue guidance to councils to ensure they are fast-tracking applications from people who are terminally ill.

Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “Macmillan welcomes the review that has been recommended today, as Blue Badges are an essential lifeline for people living with cancer who want to retain their independence.

“Whether it is holding on to the vital support of family and friends, attending clinics, maintaining leisure interests or meeting their work commitments – access to priority parking is central to helping people with cancer to live life as fully as they can.

“Macmillan Wales’ nationwide network of welfare benefits advisers have reported on inconsistencies within the current Blue Badge scheme for a number of years.  Such inconsistencies impact negatively on people with cancer in Wales.

“The scheme operates with different interpretations, application forms and decision-making processes in different parts of Wales, with very little right of appeal or reply on eligibility grounds for those who are applying for support.

“All this places unnecessary stress and creates an additional, but so easily-avoidable burden, for people desperately trying to continue living their lives with a cancer diagnosis.

“Whether it is because of the loss of mobility that temporary treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy can create, or whether it is helping people who have received a terminal diagnosis, there is a very real case for anyone who receives a cancer diagnosis to automatically qualify for this vital source of support.

“People with cancer have enough on their hands trying to come to terms with their diagnosis and treatment – the last thing they need is to have to worry about where they are going to park as well.”