George Osborne is today facing criticism from disability campaigners after his car was pictured in a disabled bay on Wednesday.
The Chancellor's chauffeur appeared to park his £50,000 Land Rover in a clearly marked disabled space when he stopped off at service station in Wales.
According to a report in the Daily Mirror, Mr Osborne went into Magor service station on the M4 near Newport to get food while his chauffeur waited with the car at the restricted bay.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, told the Mirror that the incident "shows how wildly out of touch the Chancellor is with disabled people in the UK".
He said: “They will see this as rubbing salt in their wounds.
"Many are already struggling to make ends meet, yet the Chancellor’s response has been to cut vital financial support and squeeze local care budgets.”
Mr Hawkes added: “This picture tells you everything about George Osborne’s toxic attitude to benefits.
"He talks about a broken system abused by scroungers – but has chosen to take advantage of it himself.”
Senior Conservative sources claim the Chancellor had been dropped off to pick up some food and that he was not aware that the car had been parked in the restricted bay.
"George does not condone this in any way," the source said.
The incident could prove damaging amid claims that welfare reforms - including housing benefit cuts for people with spare rooms - will hit the disabled.
The picture emerged yesterday after Mr Osborne had said that the case of child killer Mick Philpott should open up debate about the UK's benefits system.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls accused Mr Osborne of "nasty and divisive" tactics for linking the case to the coalition's shake-up.
It is the second time that the Chancellor has been involved in a transport restriction row. Last year, he boarded a first class train carriage with a standard ticket and was forced to pay an extra £160 for the upgrade.