City of York Council’s Conservative Group leader Paul Doughty has continued his group’s opposition to the Lib Dem blue badge changes which he believes will be highly detrimental to many disabled people in the city. Last night Lib Dems and their Green councillor puppet colleagues voted unanimously to essentially ban blue badges from the city centre. The council claims the move is needed to stop terrorist attacks in the city but for the initial weeks the ban will apparently enable more of a street café scene. Clearly this shows the absurdity of the changes and they amount to York’s ruling administration effectively deeming disabled people an inconvenience and a group whose needs do not matter. The claim the measures are being brought in to stop terror threats is also undermined by the numerous other city locations where crowds are around nevermind that many vehicles will still have access at significant other times when many people are around.
Blue badges enable disabled residents to get nearer to the city whether for shopping, go for a meal or to attend an event and are given to people only unable to walk or only able to walk very limited distances. Saying they cannot park in their traditional spaces and must park further out like at St George’s Field Car Park is at best unwelcoming to disabled people and at worst breaches equity of access and brings the City into disrepute (again!). Under Equalities legislation and moral duty the Lib Dems should be striving to make the city centre more accessible to disabled groups rather than this totally opposite approach.
When last night’s blue badge ban was brought in, the council meeting had a more than 1,400 page agenda, started at 5.30pm with over 20 public speakers and had other key issues on the agenda. This cannot possibly represent a sensible decision making process for something so important.
The decision has gone through the typical Lib Dem sham process of asking interested parties like York Disability Rights Forum, York Older People’s Assembly and York Sight Loss Council, their thoughts before ignoring them, going to various council committees, where Lib Dem and Green votes have forced it through. Earlier in the week 16 different organisations wrote to local York newspaper The Press united in their opposition to the proposed changes and in the words of Conservative Leader Paul Doughty ‘my group stand with those organisations and the many public speakers at meetings or on the likes of social media who are opposing this outrageous change.’
Cllr Doughty continued ‘The LibDems and Greens have completely ignored the wishes of virtually everyone they have asked for views from and in particular councillors sat on Council Scrutiny Committees and those of the ‘Human Rights City Network’ for disabled access. This action against blue badge holders comes just weeks after the LibDems had a motion at Full Council applying for Sanctuary City accreditation. This shows that motion to be meaningless, cheap virtue signalling when they can’t, or let’s be blunt - won’t even look after our own citizens!”