Thousands of people with hidden disabilities have benefitted from the Government’s extended Blue Badge scheme, new figures reveal.
In the first three months of the scheme, 12,299 new badges were granted to people who cannot walk as part of a journey without psychological distress or the risk of serious harm, as well as to people with a non-visible disability.
The new rules to widen the eligibility criteria for Blue Badges were introduced by the transport secretary Grant Shapps in August.
‘People with hidden conditions like these have to fight not just their disability, but the psychological worry that others may not recognise them as disabled,’ said Mr Shapps.
‘I’m proud that our reform is already changing thousands of people’s lives, allowing those in need to carry on their daily lives with more confidence and helping combat loneliness and isolation.’
Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), commented: ‘DPTAC has worked hard to bring the issue of non-visible disabilities to the fore.
‘Enabling those with non-visible disabilities to benefit from a Blue Badge will bring a critical improvement in the lives of many disabled people and it is right that the criteria was changed.
‘We have stressed the importance of enforcement of the scheme and we are pleased to see the number of prosecutions increasing.’