Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at Mencap, said:

“Under new guidelines, people with hidden disabilities, such as a learning disability and autism will soon have access to blue badges, which is very welcome news and will remove a barrier to safe car travel.

People with a learning disability who ‘cannot undertake a journey without very considerable psychological distress’ will now be able to get a blue badge, along with families with young children who need a blue badge due to ‘risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person’.

“Previous eligibility was limited to people with a physical disability and it was down to the local Council to decide if a person could have a blue badge. The introduction of clear and consistent guidelines for local authorities will remove the current ‘postcode lottery’, expand access, and give more disabled people and their families greater independence.

“Families regularly contact the Mencap helpline about this issue as many have lost their blue badge when moving from DLA to PIP, so we encourage the Government to get the new eligibility and guidelines in place as soon as possible to make things clear.”

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For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or media@mencap.org.uk or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

www.mencap.org.uk  

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.