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Disabled Drivers

Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why two concessionary schemes are needed to issue disabled drivers with special authorisation to park their vehicles; and what is the administrative cost of each of the two schemes.

The two schemes have different origins. The first was originally established by the former Belfast County Borough Council to exempt certain disabled drivers from the statutory meter charges and time limits, and otherwise to facilitate their parking, in the Belfast central area. Certificates under this scheme have since 1st October 1973 been issued by the Road Services (Belfast Division) at an annual cost of about £1,200.The second scheme covers the whole of Northern Ireland, was originated in 1961 under the former welfare authorities, and is now operated by the health and social service boards.Precise costs cannot be obtained without disproportianate effort and the sums involved are very small.As I told the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) on 9th November, I hope to introduce legislation to amend the Road Traffic Act (NI) 1970 to enable the granting of parking concessions to disabled persons similar to those operating under the Orange Badge scheme in Great Britain. This would eliminate the need for the existing schemes.