Sunday, July 20, 2008
As part of the Ministry of Defence's cross-government Command Paper, it was also announced that there will be an automatic Blue Badge entitlement to allow injured Armed Forces personnel and veterans greater access to on-street parking and free use of parking meters.
These enhancements build on April's extension of the free bus pass, to allow up to 11 million older and entitled disabled people to travel for free on local buses across England, and the Department's recent consultation on changes to the Blue Badge scheme.
Rosie Winterton said:
"Ensuring injured Service personnel and Veterans receive a free England-wide bus pass and have an automatic entitlement to Blue Badges are key ways in which we can recognise the valuable contributions they make.
"It will help injured Service personnel and Veterans to access key services and keep in contact with friends and family - giving the freedom to live a more independent life. It is only right that we do everything we can to help personnel injured whilst serving their country and I am pleased to work with the Ministry of Defence to bring these important changes into effect."
The concessionary bus fare scheme was extended in April this year to include England-wide travel for those over 60 or those with certain disabilities. The new extension will come into force in 2011 and will include people in the armed services under the age of 60 who have been seriously injured.
Veterans receiving War Pensioners Mobility Supplement currently quality for a Blue Badge, and will continue to do so. However, these proposals will extend this to people who have been given certain awards under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. They will also make the process of getting a Blue Badge much smoother.
Today's commitments have been designed to reflect the considerable and unique demands of life in the armed forces and will provide improved access to public services for those affected.