A DISABLED man has slammed Bexley Council's decision to increase charges for issuing blue badges.

The blue badge scheme was introduced in 1970 and allows disabled people and those with mobility problems to park closer to shops and amenities.

Department for Transport has decided to reform the scheme in an attempt to tackle rising levels of fraud and to ensure badges are issued more fairly.

As a result the maximum fee a council can charge for a Blue Badge will increase from £2 to £10.

The design of the badge will also change to make it harder to tamper with or forge.

From January 1 Bexley Council will increase its fee for the permit to £10.

Kevin Middleditch, 47, and his partner, Tina Atkins, both have disabilities and use a Blue Badge when they leave the house.

Mr Middleditch, of Riverdale Road, Erith, said: "I think it's disgusting and completely outrageous. They are attacking the disabled and elderly.

"We shouldn't even have to pay a penny for a badge."

News Shopper: Councillor David Hurt

The council's cabinet member for adults’ services, Councillor David Hurt, said: "The main aim for the reforms is to fight fraudulent use of the Blue Badge, an offence which is rife nationally.

"The changes will make it much harder for badges to be used by people who do not qualify for them.

"We welcome measures which ensure that those in genuine need will continue to receive the help they are entitled to whilst cutting down on the despicable offence of misusing Blue Badges through selfishness and greed."

From December 2009 to December last year there were eight incidents of Blue Badge misuse in Bexley.

But this increased between December last year and December this year – with 22 cases of Blue Badge misuse.