Government consults on offering Blue Badges for hidden disabilities
23rd February 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
The government has launched a consultation on its plans to extend the Blue Badge parking scheme to people who are living with hidden disabilities, such as dementia and autism.
The proposed changes – which can be responded to until 18 March - have been mooted as a way of closing what is often perceived as a gap between the provision of support for people living with physical and mental disabilities.
Under the current system, local councils in England can choose to make priority parking spaces available to people with hidden disabilities, but the extent to which this happens varies widely from region to region. According to this Independent article, the adoption of standardised guidelines could help to provide a more “clear and consistent” model.
Announcing the consultation, Jesse Norman – a minister at the Department for Transport – praised the existing Blue Badge system, explaining that it “give[s] people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible”.
The MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire went on to say that the government wants to “try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities, so they can enjoy the freedom to get out and about, where and when they want”.
The proposed changes have already been welcomed by organisations such as the National Autistic Society; Sarah Lambert, Head of Policy, noted that the changes may prove to be “a lifeline” for people with conditions like autism, adding: “We hope the government will make this important change and we look forward to working with them to make sure that autistic people and their families benefit”.
Blue Badges currently allow disabled people who qualify for the scheme to park for free in pay and display areas and to avoid the congestion charge in London, potentially freeing up funds for other expenses such as covering the cost of a stairlift.
Image Credit: Steve p2008