Residents and councillors have backed plans to bring the charges for a new or replacement Blue Badge parking permit in line with the national statutory amount.

Members of General Purposes Committee in supporting the rise heard 95 per cent of respondents to the survey backed the proposals 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

Just over 87 per cent of respondents and all the organisations asked also supported:

"¢ increasing the charge for replacing lost or stolen badges from £5 to £10.

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.

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.

With around £51 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 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.

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. With such financial challenges it is right, especially after we have support from those most affected, that we charge an appropriate amount for the services provided. 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."

It is expected the new changes to prices will come in from the start of this new financial year, 1 April.


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