People with “hidden disabilities” including autism and mental health problems are set for a major boost when they are allowed to apply for blue parking badges.
This year, the Blue Badge scheme, which allows holders to park closer to their destinations in specially-reserved bays and stay longer, is set to be rolled out further.
People with mental health problems will also be eligible to apply.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton said: “It is absolutely right that disabled people are able to go about their daily life without worrying about how they will get from one place to another.
“We’re taking an important step forward in ensuring people with hidden disabilities get the support they need to live independently.”
Kamran Mallick, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “If we are to truly have an inclusive society that works for everyone, the Blue Badge is an essential component of this.”
Blue badge holders especially prevalent in Staffordshire
The move comes after it was revealed Staffordshire has one of the highest proportions of disabled parking badges in England, reports Staffordshire Live .
A total of 6.3 per cent of the county’s population have a blue badge. The national rate is 4.2 per cent.
There are 55,333 badge-holders in Staffordshire, compared to 54,427 in 2017, according to the Department for Transport.