By Mo Stewart

The many reported atrocities created by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since 2010, when masquerading as welfare reform and austerity measures, created an environment of **fear and anxiety within the disabled community dependent upon State financial support. Now, seemingly, the same unjustified political attack against the sick and disabled population has also created opportunities for other government departments to intimidate those least able to protest, including the Department for Transport (DT).

The award of the Blue Badge is the guarantee that chronically ill and disabled people, who have significant and often permanent chronic illness or disabilities, can access the local shops and community when able to park close to public access. Without this parking priority, many chronically ill and disabled people would be permanently housebound.

The resistance to supply a new Blue Badge was brought to my attention recently when I received an email reminder from the local County Council, advising that my parking Blue Badge was about to end on 29th May, with a suggestion to re-apply as soon as possible.

Included with the email was the same attempted coercion and intimidation that I had come to expect from the DWP. The email reminder stated:

“The Blue Badge that you currently hold will expire on 29-MAY-17. You must
not use the badge after that date and will be liable for fines and other
enforcement action if you do. The expired badge should either be handed in
or cut up and returned to the address below…

Please note that, depending on the criteria under which you are applying,
you may be asked to undergo an independent mobility assessment. You
should apply in good time before your old badge expires to allow sufficient
time for us to deal with your application and to order a new badge from
the Blue Badge Improvement Service”.

When I challenged this unacceptable contact, Customer Services at the local County Council advised that it was “out of our hands” as they are an “administrating authority” and the email reminder notice is dictated by the DT.

Having spent **eight years researching and exposing the American corporate insurance influence with the DWP welfare reforms, I was totally unaware that the essential Blue Badge would be placed under threat by the DT by a right-wing government whose social policies continue to demonstrate that suspicion, and a presumption of guilt and wrong-doing, is attached to all policies impacting on welfare.

Despite having a permanent condition, the County authority will not provide the Blue Badge for longer than three years, thus making sure there is a ready stream of income, and a ready opportunity to intimidate chronically ill and permanently disabled people, who can’t recover. Another example of the inadequate ‘one size fits all’ mentality.

There remains no comprehension by under qualified administrators that someone with a permanent health condition, or disability, can’t miraculously recover despite attempted intimidation.

What is guaranteed is that the relentless intimidation, first by the DWP and now by the DT, demonstrates that no-one with a profound health problem will ever find peace again and this insecurity has caused preventable harm against those least able to protest. In any other circumstance, this relentless intimidation would be deemed as government tyranny.

The endless thinly veiled threat that minimal welfare benefit, needed for financial survival, can be removed at the whim of an underqualified DWP administrator has contributed to many deaths, which the national press continue to resist informing the British people. Now, the essential Blue Badge is no longer secure.

** Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state. Mo Stewart


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