Blue Badges Will Now Be Available For Anxiety Sufferers
Blue badges are set to be given to anxiety sufferers, with the government now acknowledging 'hidden disabilities' for the first time.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has today given guidance to councils and parking attendants that people with conditions like dementia or anxiety could be eligible for the scheme.
The DfT has announced that the extension of the Blue Badge scheme - which currently is offered to people with physical disabilities - is now available for those who can't take a journey without psychological distress, or if they're at risk of serious harm. It also includes people who have children with autism.
The badges give them the ability to park closer to their destination, including shops and workplaces.
The announcement was initially made last summer but it's only now that people can apply for the new badges and guidance has been issued to local authorities.
The new rules that include people that have 'invisible' disabilities have been called 'life-changing' by mental health charities and activists.
It will be down to local authorities to decide who is eligible, using the guidelines issued.
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As it stands, there are about 2.35 million people in the UK who have a Blue Badge, according to The Telegraph, so the extension of the rules is likely to increase that number dramatically.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: "As a society, we don't do enough for people with hidden disabilities.I hope this change to Blue Badge guidance will make a real difference to people's lives."
Justin Tomlinson, Minister for disabled people, added: "Extending the Blue Badge scheme is a watershed moment in ensuring those with hidden disabilities are able to travel with greater ease and live more independent lives."
It's the biggest shake-up of the scheme in nearly 50 years - since it was first introduced - and is likely to make the lives of people living with the debilitating conditions much easier.
Jesse Norman, the UK's Minister for Transport, said: "Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people, giving them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently.
"The changes we have announced today will ensure that this scheme is extended equally to people with hidden disabilities so that they can enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted."
Featured Image Credit: PA