BOLTON’S Liberal Democrat leader has apologised after using the term ‘invalid carriages’ in a newsletter, a term described by an equality charity as ‘not belonging in the 21st century’.

A disabled Bolton News reader from the Church Road area took exception to an item in ‘Smithills Focus’, a newsletter written by Liberal Democrat leader, councillor Roger Hayes about  ‘selfish and illegal parking on Captains Clough Road forcing invalid carriages and prams into the road’.

He said the use of the term ‘invalid’ was widely accepted to have negative connotations.

The reader, said: “In the newest local news letter from Bolton Lib Dems one of their articles mentions the words invalid carriages.

The Bolton News:

The 'Smithills Focus' newsletter

“As a disabled person I find this offensive.

“I would like to ask why are they using such words when even on Government website it says these words should not be used.”

Councillor Hayes stressed that his use of the term was without any malice whatsoever and said he would use different language in the future.

He said: ““I regret that the anonymous correspondent found some of the wording in our article about inconsiderate parking on the pavements of Captains Clough Road to be insulting.

“I would happily apologise to them in person if they contacted me.

The Bolton News:

Councillor Roger Hayes

“In future we will refer to a ‘mobility scooter’ rather than an ‘invalid carriage’.

“I think the important thing in the article is that we are trying to combat this inconsiderate parking which forces mobility scooters and prams off the pavement into a busy road.”

Alison Kerry, head of communications at disability equality charity Scope said that although the term used to be in common usage for a long time it had become ‘outdated’.

They said: “The term ‘invalid carriage’ belongs in the 20th Century.

“This vehicle was the precursor to the mobility scooter or adapted car, which are the official and accepted terms we use today.

“The word ‘invalid’ has very negative connotations.

“At Scope we use the social model of disability, which says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference.

“Barriers can be physical, like cars parked on the pavement.

“They can also be caused by people’s attitudes to disability and difference, such as using outdated language or assuming disabled people can’t do certain things.

“Removing these barriers creates equality and offers disabled people more independence, choice and control.”