Residents are being asked to have their say on possible plans to bring the charges for a new or replacement Blue Badge parking permit in line with the national statutory amount.

Currently it costs Cambridgeshire County Council around £312,700 to administer the Blue Badge scheme but the council only receives £97,000 in income from Blue Badge applicants to deliver the service.

Members of the General Purposes Committee approved yesterday, Tuesday the launch of a consultation. This will help further understand the community impact of the proposed increase and whether any future reasonable rise should be linked to national guidelines.

With £41 million to find in savings next year and more demand on Council services the authority is looking at ways to reduce costs while protecting frontline services.

The Council is looking to increase the cost of applying for a Blue Badge for three years from the current £9 to the national £10 rate - just over 33p a year extra - and for replacing lost or stolen badges from £5 to £10.

Even with the extra £17,000 income from the proposed increased charges the full cost will not be covered and the Council will still subsidise the scheme by around £198,000.

The costs of providing the badges has also risen in the last few years as new anti-fraud and security measures have been introduced nationally.

The increase of £1 over three years to apply for a Blue Badge and £5 over three years to replace a lost or stolen badge follows the national guidelines used by many councils.

Around 18,000 Blue Badge holders will be e-mailed about the survey and people will also be able to provide feedback or request a paper copy. The Council will also be contacting partners and interest groups as well as asking the public to have their say.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Count, Council Leader and Chairman of General Purposes Committee, said: "We have tried hard for several years to keep the cost of blue badges under the national statutory amount. But at a time when we are facing unprecedented savings and cuts to essential services such as social care for the most vulnerable we have to look at every penny. It costs the Council around £312,000 to deal with Blue Badges but we only receive £97,000 income towards the cost, leaving a large hole to fill. Even with the increase over three years of £1 or £5 the Council will still have to find around £198,000. We want people to have their say on what impact these proposed increases may have on them and urge people to take part in the survey."

The survey closes on 5 January 2015 and can be found on the Council's website or find out more here

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