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RA Councillors put 'Group unity' first

February 17, 2010 9:18 AM

In an impressive display of 'Group unity' RA Councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to follow their party line and back the imposition of parking charges on disabled people in all council-run car parks, even if they qualify for a 'Blue Badge'.

Don't confuse me with the facts!

A message sent to all members urged RA councillors to follow their party line, even if they disagreed with it.

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors were joined by both Conservative and Labour colleagues in calling for the proposal to be referred back to a committee for reconsideration.

A crowded public gallery, including people in wheel-chairs, listened aghast as RA leaders assured members that disabled people would be formally 'consulted' after a final decision had been taken, but that in informal discussions their representatives had indicated they were willing to accept charging in exchange for better facilities, despite this having been denied in writing by those concerned.

"The Residents Association Councillors have proved once again that they are clearly losing touch with public opinion", said Councillor Jonathan Lees, who is also the Liberal Democrat candidate for this year's General Election.

"We are campaigning for a fairer Britain. This decision is mean spirited and a low blow to people who need a bit of help. With more than 80 people per hour signing the Liberal Democrat petition, it is clear that Epsom residents are appalled at the idea that some of our most vulnerable citizens will be charged for parking, even though they qualify for a Blue Badge."