DIFFICULTIES faced by blind people in Chester district could be raised with Work and Pensions secretary James Purnell MP.

The issue is due to be raised at a meeting of the full city council on Wednesday (October 8).

Lib Dem Cllrs David Hull (Hoole Groves) and Bob Thompson (Hoole All Saints) will ask the Tory controlled council to note that blind people experience “significant barriers to independent mobility”.

They are often isolated and find it difficult to access basic services without assistance, argue the councillors.

They will say that many blind residents in Chester find it difficult to access shops, supermarkets, doctors, dentists and community facilities and centres.

“Our blind residents find it difficult to access many services ranging from housing to voting without mobility support and face additional costs as a result, such as using taxis or private hire vehicles,” the council will be told.

The councillors point out that blind people are not entitled to the higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance and that loss of sight “clearly causes significant independent mobility problems and incurs additional and unmet costs”.

Blind people in many parts of England are excluded from social care support because their needs are not considered “critical” or “substantial” argue the councillors.

They are asking the council to agree that managing director Chris Hardy and council leader Margaret Parker (Con, Mickle Trafford) should write to Mr Purnell expressing these concerns.

They also believe the council should contact local MPs Christine Russell, (City of Chester), Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) and Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury) urging them to sign up to an early day motion dealing with mobility payments for blind people and to support a campaign by the Royal National Institute of Blind People to secure the higher rate mobility payment for those who are blind.