Labour ‘on collision course with UN and EHRC over independent living’

The Labour party is on a “collision course” with the equality and human rights watchdog and the United Nations because of its failure to accept the need for a legal right to independent living, according to a national network of disabled people’s organisations (DPOs).

The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) has called on Labour to join the TUC in backing its proposals for a new National Independent Living Support Service (NILSS) that would give disabled people crucial new rights to free support.

A meeting of ROFA members and supporters from across England agreed on Friday on their priorities for winning support for NILSS.

Among those priorities was to push Labour to include the plans in its next general election manifesto.

There was also “contempt” at the meeting for the Conservative-led government’s continuing failure to publish its own much-delayed plans for solving the adult social care funding crisis.

ROFA’s demands for a NILSS were first set out in January, in the Independent Living for the Future document, and backing for the plan appears to be growing.

On Friday, the Trades Union Congress passed a motion – proposed by Sean McGovern, co-chair of TUC’s disabled workers’ committee – that calls on the next Labour government to establish a NILSS.

The motion had been passed by TUC’s annual Disabled Workers’ Conference in May.

Such a service, running alongside the NHS, would provide a universal right to independent living, with support provided free at the point of need, funded by general taxation, managed by central government, and delivered locally in co-production with disabled people.

Similar motions have been passed by local Labour branches, with the hope that the proposals will be debated on the floor of the party’s annual conference in Brighton from 21 September.

And the day after Friday’s meeting, ROFA member Andrew Day passed Jeremy Corbyn a letter, when the Labour leader visited him during a visit to Norwich, in which he asked him to meet ROFA to discuss the NILSS proposals.

Mark Harrison, a ROFA member who helped draw up the strategy and took part in Friday’s meeting, said the disabled people’s movement was united behind NILSS.

He said the idea could be “transformational” if it was adopted by Labour as part of its general election manifesto.

But he said he did not believe that the party’s shadow social care minister, Barbara Keeley, had engaged with representative DPOs on social care and the right to independent living, as the party should have been doing because of principles laid out in article four of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Labour disputed this and insisted that Keeley had not refused to meet with RoFA, and “regularly consults with a range of stakeholders, including people with lived experience, on social care policy development”.

Harrison said Labour’s current policies on social care were “pathetic” and “neither transformational nor socialist”.

He said Labour was currently on a “collision course” with the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which has called for the UK to introduce a legal right to independent living, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has also backed such a move.

Although Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto (PDF) promised to sign the UN convention into UK law, the party has since shied away from promising a legal right to independent living, which is offered by article 19 of the treaty.

Harrison said ROFA would hold the Labour party’s “feet to the fire” over independent living.

He said: “This could be a flagship commitment of a new Labour government coming to power.”

He also said there was “complete contempt” for the government at Friday’s meeting over its failure to publish its plans for social care, and for its own failure to engage with representative organisations of disabled people.

He said “momentum was building” behind the NILSS idea, and he added: “That was the good thing about Friday: the momentum is building up and people are really on it, determined that we are not going to let this one go.

“The Labour party should not be waiting. It should be engaging with us now.”

A Labour party spokesperson said: “The proposals fall across a range of government policy areas, from work and pensions and health and social care to justice.

“They will be considered carefully as part of Labour’s policy development process.”

She added: “Labour is committed to addressing the crisis in social care.

“Our plans for a National Care Service will provide dignity in older age, and independence and support for people with disabilities.

“Our plans will ensure that social care receives the funding it needs, at a time when Tory austerity has created the national crisis in social care.”

The Department of Health and Social Care had failed to comment by noon today (Thursday).

12 September 2019


Watchdog to launch project to fund legal actions on transport discrimination

The equality watchdog is to launch a new project that will provide funding for disabled and older people to take legal action when they have faced discrimination on public transport.

The fund has not yet been officially launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), but it has approached disability organisations and other stakeholders about the project.

It would see EHRC providing funding to pay a solicitor or barrister to represent older or disabled people who would not otherwise be able to afford to pursue legal action against transport providers under the Equality Act.

One of EHRC’s priority aims for this year, as laid out in its annual business plan (PDF), is to ensure that public transport “supports the economic and social inclusion of disabled people and older people”.

The project is believed to be linked to this aim and its pledge to support at least 25 legal cases “which resolve issues for the individuals”, and to use information from these cases to influence its policy work.

The plans have already won support from key disabled campaigners, despite opposition from Stephen Brookes, the government’s disability champion for the rail sector and a Disability Rights UK (DR UK) ambassador.

Brookes criticised the plans in a post on the DR UK website, before later confirming his concerns to Disability News Service.

He said he had told EHRC that legal action should only be taken when all other avenues, such as complaints to the transport company, and then to the ombudsman, had failed.

He said: “Litigation should be the final recourse if you don’t get satisfaction from the normal procedures.

“I want a long-term solution and not a quick fix.”

But the post on the DR UK site was later removed, with EHRC saying it had been posted “in error”, while DR UK stressed that it supported the EHRC project.

Doug Paulley, who has taken multiple successful legal actions against public transport companies for disability discrimination, securing important gains for disabled transport-users, including one which secured a victory in the Supreme Court, also supported EHRC’s plans.

He said he “fundamentally and strongly” disagreed with Brookes.

He said: “Complaints don’t always make it to the relevant people who can actually ‘do something’ at the company.

“I can think of multiple occasions where the contracted-out customer relations system has shielded those with the power and control from the content of the complaint.

“Legal action can be effective at cutting through the customer relations barrier, to those with real management responsibilities who have often thanked me for doing so as otherwise they would be totally unaware of the passenger experience in question.”

Paulley said the rail ombudsman had only a limited role and was “very consumer oriented” and failed to achieve industry change.

He said the complaints process and the ombudsman were both “very focussed” on customer service and customer service failure.

He added: “Disability discrimination, including service failures in disability provision and other failures to make reasonable adjustments, are not failures in customer service provision.

“They are illegal and should be treated as such.”

Paulley also pointed out that going through the complaints and ombudsman processes cut into the short period of time allowed for taking a discrimination case under the Equality Act, which was usually just six months.

Kamran Mallick, DR UK’s chief executive, also welcomed EHRC’s project.

He said: “Disabled people are persistently frustrated in their efforts to use public transport, in part because of the failure of transport providers to meet their responsibilities under equalities legislation.

“We’d encourage disabled people to use all the policies and procedures available to them, such as complaints systems, if they are denied the services they should be able to use.

“That includes pointing out where there have been breaches of legislation.”

He added: “We are of course happy to have a dialogue with any transport provider seeking to improve the experience of disabled customers.

“But we’re often fobbed off with shallow excuses and lightweight apologies. It’s down to transport providers to ensure they comply with the law.

“Any individual should be able to take legal action as and when need be.”

Transport for All (TfA), the user-led charity which campaigns on accessible transport in London, also supported they new EHRC project.

Kirsty Hoyle, TfA’s chief executive, said: “Transport for All are pleased that the EHRC are taking the rights of disabled and older people to access transport seriously and commend the decision to both commit to this in their recent policy and to set up a
funded project intended to support their aims.

“We work closely with the transport sector: providing training, consultancy and as a critical friend, and we believe that many issues can and are remedied without the
need for legal action.

“But we also believe that it is essential that D/deaf, disabled and older people get good legal advice and support to challenge discrimination when it happens.

“This project will do exactly this and we will continue utilising all the mechanisms available to us to tackle the repeated instances of discrimination that are reported to Transport for All every day.

“This benefits the transport sector too – who we know want to understand and comply with the law and we hope want to strive to be beacons of good practice – particularly as London and the UK are starting to fall behind in terms of access to transport.

“We share concerns with others that single agenda matters can detract from the systemic issues but projects like this can be an opportunity for all stakeholders to all work together to identify the systemic issues creating barriers and to work together to remove them.”

An EHRC spokesperson declined to provide further details about the project.

But she said: “We have spoken to a variety of stakeholders and taken their comments on board. We will be releasing more details about the project soon.”

12 September 2019


Special school numbers swell, 10 years after Tories’ ‘end the bias’ election pledge

The needs of many disabled pupils in England are not being met, while councils are under growing financial pressure because more children are attending special schools, parliament’s spending watchdog has warned.

The report from the National Audit Office (NAO) says the number of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who attend special schools or alternative provision rose by more than a fifth between 2014 and 2018.

It comes after nine years of policies from Conservative-led governments that have been aimed at educating more of the 1.3 million pupils in England with SEND in segregated special schools.

Those policies have followed the party’s 2010 general election manifesto (PDF), which pledged to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.

The report from NAO yesterday (Wednesday) warns that, although the Department for Education (DfE) has increased school funding, particularly for pupils with high needs, this has not kept pace with the rise in the number of pupils, while local authorities are “increasingly overspending their budgets for supporting pupils with high needs”.

It adds: “The main reason why local authorities have overspent their high-needs budgets is that more pupils are attending special schools.”

The report says there was a 2.6 per cent real terms reduction in funding for each pupil with high needs in the four years between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

At the same time, local authorities have “sharply” increased the amount they spend on independent special schools, with a real terms increase of nearly a third (32.4 per cent) between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

NAO says there are concerns that demand for special school places is growing because “the system incentivises mainstream primary and secondary schools to be less inclusive”, with mainstream schools expected to cover the first £6,000 of support for a child with SEND from their existing budgets.

Schools with high numbers of children with SEND may also appear to be performing less well academically in government performance tables.

About one-fifth of pupils with SEND have education, health and care (EHC) plans, which give them legally enforceable entitlements to support, with the other four-fifths identified as needing a lower level of SEN support at school.

The report says NAO is concerned that many pupils with SEND “are not being supported effectively, and that pupils with SEND who do not have EHC plans are particularly exposed”.

The report also points out that pupils with SEND – particularly those without EHC plans – are more likely to be permanently excluded from school than pupils without SEND.

In 2017-18, children with SEND made up 45 per cent of permanent exclusions, while survey evidence in 2019 suggested that pupils with SEND are more likely to experience off-rolling – in which mainstream schools force pupils off their books to boost their academic results – than other children.

Among its recommendations, the NAO report says the government should make changes to “encourage and support mainstream schools to be more inclusive in terms of admitting, retaining and meeting the needs of pupils with SEND”.

And it says DfE should share good practice on how mainstream schools can meet the needs of pupils with SEND who do not have EHC plans.

It also calls on DfE to assess how much it would cost to ensure proper funding of the system for supporting pupils with SEND created by the 2014 reforms that introduced EHCPs.

Last week, education secretary Gavin Williamson announced a review of support for children with SEND.

But NAO made it clear to Disability News Service yesterday that DfE had seen an early draft of its report in late July. This suggests Williamson’s decision to launch a review was heavily influenced by NAO’s concerns.

Simone Aspis, policy and campaigns coordinator for The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), said: “ALLFIE welcomes the NAO’s conclusion that the current SEND funding system is financially unsustainable as a result of increased spending on segregated education provision that often leaves disabled pupils with poor outcomes, and recommends that government invest in mainstream education and removes the funding bias away from segregated education.”

She said this supported the recommendations of the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) that the UK government should invest in a fully inclusive education system, as required under its obligations in article 24 of the UN disability convention.

She said: “The DfE have announced another SEND review. We see all these reviews as a distraction from the government’s total disregard for the continuing systematic attack on disabled pupils’ and students’ human rights to inclusive education.

“We do not need any more reviews. We need action now.”

What was needed, she said, was for the government to implement CRPD’s recommendations around removing the current “parallel education system and have one sustainable inclusive education service that includes everyone regardless of ability”.

A DfE spokesperson said yesterday that the department was not able to respond within the deadline set by DNS to questions about the report, including whether successive Tory-led governments were to blame for the rise in the number of pupils in special schools because of the “end the bias” pledge by the Conservatives in 2010.

But she said in a statement: “Helping all children and young people reach their potential is one of the core aims of this government, including those with special educational needs.

“That is why the prime minister has committed to providing an extra £700 million next year to make sure these children get an education that helps them develop and thrive as adults.

“We have improved special educational needs support to put families at the heart of the system and give them better choice in their children’s education, whether in mainstream or special school.

“Last week we launched a review of these reforms, to make sure every child, everywhere, gets an education that prepares them for success.”

12 September 2019


Charity campaigning for autistic inclusion faces autistic ex-staffer in tribunal

A disability charity which campaigns for an end to the hostility faced by autistic people in the workplace has this week been defending its actions in an employment tribunal, following allegations made by an autistic former employee.

Dave Gregson worked as a support worker for United Response in Yorkshire for more than seven years before he was dismissed.

He claims he lost the job because the charity believed his autism meant he could not carry out his duties.

In May, just a day after an employment tribunal concluded the preliminary hearing in his case, United Response launched its new Am I Your Problem? campaign, which aimed to challenge the “indifference, hidden discrimination and sometimes outright hostility faced by people with a learning disability or autism”, including in the workplace.

The charity is calling on the public in its campaign to “seriously consider how their interaction and behaviour can harm people with learning disabilities or autism, dent their confidence and at worst completely ostracise them from society”.

Tim Cooper, United Response’s chief executive, said in launching the campaign that “hidden discrimination” was taking place in businesses, workplaces and schools, and he called on non-disabled people to “become the solution, not the problem” and help create “a society which is open to all and gives everyone a fair chance in all walks of life”.

Gregson is now himself claiming disability discrimination, victimisation, sex discrimination and unfair dismissal by United Response.

As well as launching its own anti-discrimination campaign, United Response has also signed up as a “Disability Confident employer” under the government’s much-criticised disability employment scheme.

Last year, United Response was heavily criticised for choosing the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test as its new chair.

Gregson was absent from work for 17 months from July 2017, firstly under suspension and gardening leave, following a dispute with a colleague in which he was eventually cleared of any misconduct.

Gregson says that an occupational health doctor, his mental health team and a consultant psychiatrist all said it would be better if he returned to work.

But United Response concluded that he was not able to return to work and dismissed him.

Among the issues the tribunal has been deciding this week is whether United Response made “stereotypical” assumptions about the impact of Gregson’s autism on his work, and whether it treated him less favourably than it would have treated someone who was not autistic.

A United Response spokesperson declined to comment while the tribunal was ongoing.

12 September 2019


DWP advisers demand ‘urgent action’ on UC claimant commitment health demands

The government’s own social security advisers have called for “urgent” action to stop jobcentre staff forcing claimants of universal credit (UC) to take medication or attend medical appointments in return for receiving their benefits.

The social security advisory committee (SSAC) included the “particularly concerning finding” in a new report about the effectiveness of the government’s universal credit claimant commitment.

The claimant commitment is a set of “individually tailored requirements” that a benefit claimant agrees to meet in return for UC payments, and it can include a pledge to carry out a certain number of hours looking for and applying for jobs, networking, updating a CV, or attending training.

It is supposed to be DWP policy that only work-related activities are included in the claimant commitment, but SSAC said it was “clear that this is not happening in all cases”.

The report says some of the random sample of claimant commitments the committee saw included activities relating to the claimant’s management or treatment of a health condition, including commitments “outlining that medical appointments should be attended, or that medication should be taken”.

The report says claimants are left confused as to whether medical-related activities in their claimant commitment are mandatory or voluntary.

The committee says DWP should “urgently act to ensure requirements placed on claimant commitments are just work-related and do not inappropriately include requirements related to a claimant’s health or medicine”, which “can cause real harm to claimants”.

The SSAC report was published as the prime minister appointed Therese Coffey – who was previously a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – to be the new work and pensions secretary, following Amber Rudd’s resignation over the government’s Brexit policy.

Coffey becomes the seventh work and pensions secretary in less than four years.

SSAC says in this week’s report that claimant commitments are often not tailored effectively to the individual, with claimants with physical and mental health impairments “less likely than other claimants to feel that their commitment reflected their circumstances”.

Some claimants with mental health problems find interacting with work coaches very stressful, says the committee, with one claimant saying that they just accept the commitment to enable them to “get away as quickly as possible”.

The committee also says that some people with learning difficulties may struggle to understand their claimant commitment and what they have agreed to do.

Work coaches are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled claimants under the Equality Act, which could include varying the type of work they should look for and accept.

The committee says the claimant commitment is an “intrinsic” part of universal credit.

But it raises concerns in the report about how the commitment is being used and says there is a “real risk” that it could be having a “detrimental impact” on some claimants, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.

The committee says that its findings show that work coaches “are trying their best to develop effective commitments, in what can be very challenging circumstances”, while there are “excellent examples of work coaches defining tailored requirements for claimants, including claimants with complex circumstances”.

But the committee’s interim chair, Liz Sayce, former chief executive of Disability Rights UK, says in the report that it is impossible to identify the “true scale” of the problems with the claimant commitment because DWP does not collect the right data.

Sayce said: “The claimant commitment is a central part of the government’s approach to helping people back into work.

“But the committee’s work has shown that improvements need to be made.

“Inappropriate conditions and ineffective support risks failing some benefit claimants and their families, and in some cases may cause harm.

“Getting this policy right, all the way across the country, is essential.

“DWP needs to do more, more quickly, to ensure that happens.”

In its response to the report, DWP welcomed the committee’s work.

It said that conditionality had been “a feature of benefit entitlement in the UK since the formation of the welfare state” and that the claimant commitment was “a key part of conditionality”.

It said: “As part of the continuous development and improvement of the universal credit claimant commitment a number of improvements suggested by the committee have already been introduced.”

It said further improvements were planned for this year and next year and it would carry out “additional work” based on the committee’s findings as part of this programme.

It said it would respond to the report’s recommendations this autumn after giving them “full consideration”.

12 September 2019


DPO says plan for co-operation with two charities is not ‘precursor to a merger’

One of the country’s oldest disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) has stressed that plans for closer co-operation with two other disability charities do not mean that they are moving towards a merger.

The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) was founded in 1974 by the disabled crossbench peer Baroness Masham, and it played a key role in the growth of the disabled people’s movement, and in the formation of the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People.

It also played a significant part in many influential campaigns during the 1980s and 1990s, for example pushing for the introduction of direct payments and for disability discrimination legislation.

SIA has now announced that it has signed a joint commitment with spinal cord injury charities Back Up and Aspire to work more closely together.

Although Back Up does not describe itself as a DPO, more than half of its trustees have a spinal cord injury, as do many of its services team, while it was also founded by someone with a spinal cord injury, Mike Nemesvary.

But Back Up describes itself as a peer-led organisation, rather than a DPO, while Aspire is also not a DPO.

The three charities say they are now committed to “coordinate their efforts” and “build a powerful and unified voice” for the more than 50,000 spinal cord injured (SCI) people across the UK.

And they say they will launch a “national conversation” this autumn, and will use the findings to “establish how they can combine their individual strengths and resources to deliver services and champion the rights of spinal cord injured people”.

Dave Bracher, SIA’s campaigns manager, said the announcement “isn’t a precursor to a merger” but was “all about the charities working better together to present a unified voice and delivering better outcomes for SCI people”.

He added: “Although the charities already work well together through some frontline services, it’s recognised this can be improved to maximise overall delivery and impact.”

Back Up also said there were no plans for a merger.

Its chief executive, Sarah Bryan, said the proposals were about working more closely together and ensuring the three organisations offered complementary services “rather than doing things that the others are doing”, as well as providing “more of a voice for people affected by spinal cord injury”.

She said Back Up had been working in partnership with Aspire for about three years and they were now bringing SIA into that partnership.

Bryan stressed that this was not a “first step” towards a merger and that Back Up had not discussed such an idea with the other two organisations, although she said she would not rule out a merger in 10 years’ time.

An Aspire spokesperson said: “There has definitely been no talk of a merger and there are no planned talks.”

The chairs of the three charities had earlier commented on their plans in a statement.

Dr Rupert Earl, SIA’s chair, said: “The opportunity for an independent life for every person paralysed by a spinal cord injury is under threat.

“As someone who has also lived with tetraplegia most of my adult working life, I am appalled that our rehabilitation and care services are increasingly failing to provide adequately for the very reasonable needs of SCI people.

“SIA’s commitment to work together with Back Up and Aspire, and campaign for all people affected by a spinal cord injury, is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Dr Saroj Patel, chair of Aspire, said: “I am delighted that Aspire is committing to working with SIA and Back Up to deliver joined up support for spinal cord injured people in their quest to live independent lives.

“Together we can maximise the individual strengths of each organisation to develop and grow vital services for our stakeholders.”

And Jo Wright, chair of Back Up, said: “Charities that work together operate more efficiently, deliver better services and save money.

“Our stakeholders are keen for us to collaborate to ensure that we respond more effectively to the needs of people affected by SCI, and today starts our shared journey towards that end.’’

12 September 2019


MPs call for overdue government action to ban pavement parking

A committee of MPs has called on the government to ban parking on pavements, after hearing how the practice was putting disabled people all over the country in stressful, inconvenient and even dangerous situations.

The Commons transport committee says in a new report that pavement parking affects disabled people who are visually-impaired, use mobility aids or are neurodiverse.

It can reduce the useable width of the pavement, and make it impossible for those using mobility aids to pass by the vehicle, while users of guide dogs can be forced into the road.

But pavement parking can also add to people’s anxiety because of the lack of predictability, particularly for those who are visually-impaired, the report says.

The committee says it is “profoundly regrettable” that the government has taken so long to take action, and criticises the lack of “concrete actions” to tackle pavement parking and “improve people’s daily lives”.

A string of disabled people told the committee during the inquiry that the impact of the growing issue of pavement parking ranged from being “inconvenient to downright dangerous”.

Vehicles parked on pavements can block wheelchair-users, forcing them into the road or to retrace their route.

One wheelchair- and mobility scooter-user told the committee: “To avoid a vehicle often means entering the highway. This may put me in danger from other road users and this solution is far from practical.

“I have to drop down a kerb and then try and remount the pavement after the vehicle. Sometimes this causes additional stress and complications for me.

“A single vehicle is very annoying but when there are several vehicles to negotiate, I find myself staying in the road for prolonged periods of time.

“Whilst my scooter has lights, my wheelchair is not designed for road use. I am very vulnerable when on the road.”

Another wheelchair-user told the committee: “I stay home a lot because the amount of times I’ve got stuck, or had my partner ‘bounce’ my wheelchair down kerbs because of cars parked on the path makes any journey difficult or longer.

“Turning a corner, seeing a car parked on the path, and no dropped kerb is worrying.

“Sometimes paths are wide enough to turn around. Doubling back to find a safe place to cross the road and a dropped kerb is both tiresome and annoying.”

A third wheelchair-user calling for action on pavement parking told the committee: “One morning with a traffic officer and a book of tickets would result in 50+ at least unsafe parked vehicles between my house and the local shops.”

The committee’s report calls on the government to introduce a nationwide ban on pavement parking – apart from in London, where it is already banned – with enforcement by local authorities, which would be able to introduce exemptions.

Among the report’s other recommendations, the committee calls for a national awareness campaign to show the negative consequences of pavement parking for pedestrians such as disabled people, older people and children.

Campaigners have been pushing for government action since at least 2015, when a private member’s bill by Conservative MP Simon Hoare was withdrawn after a government minister promised to hold a roundtable meeting to examine the issue.

In London, local authorities or Transport for London can introduce exemptions to a ban that has been in place since 1974.

The transport (Scotland) bill, which is currently going through the Scottish parliament, includes a clause that would ban pavement parking across Scotland, which again would allow exemptions.

The legal position with pavement parking in Wales is unclear, says the committee’s report.

Sue Bott, head of policy and research at Disability Rights UK, said: “Disability Rights UK welcomes this report from the transport select committee.

“Parking on pavements creates obstacles for many disabled people trying to get on with our everyday lives.

“To add insult to injury, often pavement parking also blocks the down curb.

“It’s time this anti-social behaviour was tackled.”

Lilian Greenwood, chair of the committee, said: “We are deeply concerned that the government has failed to act on this issue, despite long-standing promises to do so.

“This is a thorny problem that may be difficult to resolve to the satisfaction of all, but the government’s inaction has left communities blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking and individuals afraid or unable to leave their homes or safely navigate the streets.

“In the long-term we believe the government should ban pavement parking across England – as is already the case in London.

“Local authorities could create exemptions if they choose to do so, but drivers would know that unless it was expressly permitted it was illegal to park their car on the pavement.

“We recognise that implementing a nationwide ban will take time. In the short-term we have said that the government should make it easier for local authorities to put in place parking restrictions by removing some of the bureaucratic burdens they currently have to contend with.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) carried out a review of pavement parking last year and is now considering its findings.

The committee’s report will inform that process, as will the changes included in the Scottish parliament’s bill.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring that our roads work for everyone, but we are also aware that pavement parking can cause real problems for a variety of road users.

“The department recently concluded a review to better understand the case for changing the law, and ministers will be considering our next steps over the coming months.”

12 September 2019

News provided by John Pring at