News & Features

The Latest Blue Badge Scheme Statistics Fall Short

Posted in General News on Thursday, January 18th, 2024

Once again, the Department for Transport (DfT) has not published statistics relating to the number of prosecutions for Blue Badge misuse and abuse so unfortunately, we can’t use this to gauge enforcement of the scheme. 

The number of Blue Badges issued as of March 2023 increased by 9.7% compared to the previous year to reach 1.14 million. The overall increase was primarily driven by a 15.5% rise in the number of badges issued subject to further assessment, Abut these figures may have been impacted by the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the Blue Badges issued, 4.0% (46,000 badges) were issued under the eligibility criteria for people with non-visible disabilities (introduced in August 2019). This is higher than in the year ending March 2022, when 2.5% (26,000) of all badges issued were for people with non-visible disabilities. 

The data shows that out of the 1.14 million Blue Badges issued in the year ending March 2023, 685,000 (60%) were subject to further assessment, 445,000 (39%) were issued without further assessment and 7,000 (1%) were issued to organisations. from the badges issued without further assessment, 94.1% were issued to those who met the relevant criteria under Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Almost all the remaining badges were issued to those registered blind (5.3%) and those on War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement or Armed Forces and Reserved Forces Compensation scheme (0.5%). 
There were 2.57 million valid Blue Badges held as of 31 March 2023, an increase of 5.7% (138,000 badges) when compared with the previous year. Of the badges held, 3.3% of all badges (86,000) were held by people with non-visible disabilities. This was an increase from 2.6% (64,000) in the year ending 31 March 2022. 

As of 31st March 2023, 2.68 million people were entitled to a Blue Badge without further assessment This figure has been rising since 2015. Out of the 2.68 million people who were eligible for a Blue Badge without further assessment, 38% held a Blue Badge. This figure has decreased over recent years – the equivalent figure was 60% in 2015. Prior to 2015 this figure was relatively stable for several years. 

The region with the most Blue Badge holders as a proportion of their population was the North East (5.4%). The region with the lowest proportion was London (3.1%), which also had the lowest regional proportion of retired people. Similarly, metropolitan areas such as Birmingham (3.8%) and Manchester (3.3%) also had comparatively low proportions of Blue Badge holders. 
In England, 6,300 badges were reported to be lost or stolen in the year ending March 2023.  Of these, 73% (4,600) were reported to be lost, and 27% (1,700) were stolen. The figures reflect cases that have been recorded in the database. It is possible that not all instances of loss or theft will be reported and recorded, and therefore will not be included in these figures. 

Lack of Prosecution Statistics for Abuse and Misuse  

For the second year in a row DfT has not published statistics relating to prosecutions for Blue Badge misuse and abuse. Disabled Motoring UK finds this incredibly disappointing because the lack of these figures has a detrimental impact on enforcement of the scheme due to less accountability. We appreciate that some local authorities are proactive in enforcing the Blue Badge Scheme but there are many that do not do enough, and these local authorities need to be held accountable. Therefore, we implore DfT to include prosecution statistics going forward.   

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