City leaders asked to set disabled parking discount rates for council housing residents were left scratching their heads over why they were being charged at all.
Several members of the Corporation’s housing and almshouses subcommittee sounded discomfort over disabled people paying for parking at its housing.
Currently the charges are set at half-price for Red and Blue Badge-holders. However, members were being asked to consider whether they should remain the same, or if the discount should be increased, or even made free.
Cllr Marianne Fredericks wanted to know whether the application of charges were means-tested, and whether they took into account whether the disabled parking space user was on benefits.
“My concern is the negative impact it will have on them – because being disabled means everything costs them a lot more,” she said.
The report to the committee said some London boroughs and landlords did not offer any discount for disability parking.
Current figures showed 38 parking space users were using the discount, and income from their charges was £14,435.72 annually.
The committee’s chairman, John Fletcher, said he had been “surprised” to learn of one resident who was being charged for his parking space “because he can’t operate without it.”
Members were told that the charges range from £5 a week to about £20 a week, depending on which property they lived at.
A resident with a disability parking space at Middlesex Street Estate was likely to pay about £40 a month, they were told by Corporation staff.
If there had to be a charge there was a question of whether it should be equal across all of the Corporation’s properties, Cllr Barbara Newman said.
“So we’re charging different rates on different estates? That doesn’t seem right to me,” she said.
The committee members were asked to select a preferred option to add to the Corporation’s forthcoming parking charges policy. The options included keeping the status quo, increasing the disability parking discount to 75%, or making disabled parking free.
However, they requested more information, including what exact charges residents were currently facing across the estates, declining to favour any one option.