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Government to extend blue badge coverage

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 15, 2012

Carl Sargeant

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THE blue badge parking scheme for disabled people is being extended to those with conditions such as autism, the Welsh Government has announced.

The badges will now be offered to those with 'severe cognitive impairments'.

They will also be automatically available for those on the new system of personal independence payments (Pip) which come into force next spring.

Welsh ministers are also examining whether injured Armed Forces personnel could benefit from the scheme.

Around 230,000 people currently hold the badges, which are free of charge to physically disabled people.

In March 2012 there were 10,802 people of working age registered with learning disabilities in Wales but the number of those eligible for blue badges will not be known until Pip assessments take place.

"Extending eligibility to the Blue Badge scheme is a key element of our commitment to modernising the scheme," said transport minister Carl Sargeant.

"This commitment has been reflected by the fact that Wales is the first country to extend eligibility for a blue badge to people with cognitive impairments."

Changes to the scheme would mean that the carer of a person with severe learning disabilities could now use the blue badge when driving them around.

The scheme will also include those who need the help of another person because of sensory issues, or use of an assistance dog.

Another big change is the linking of the blue badge scheme to the new Pip payments. The new benefit will replace the existing disability living allowance in April.

Anyone aged between 16 and 64 and receiving the new benefit will automatically be eligible for a blue badge.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed that it has been holding discussions with the UK Ministry of Defence on the issue of injured members of the armed services.

The Government said it wanted to "examine the case for extending automatic blue badge eligibility to seriously injured Armed Forces personnel" who receive an award under the Armed Forces Independence Scheme.

The new rules on eligibility will come into force on April 1, 2013.

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  • Hadoken6842  |  December 16 2012, 7:05PM

    I use a disabled badge and get away with it all the time. I am naughty....

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  • maxmin  |  December 16 2012, 12:10PM

    Geoboy Why do you condemn a taxi driver parking in a disabled bay? He might be disabled ever thought of that?

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  • geoboy01  |  December 16 2012, 11:29AM

    changes to the blue badge sceme will just be another easy way for 'anyone' to have use of them! thursday,a taxi cab parked in a large retailers disabled bay car park with blue badge!! same day same place,fit healthy looking young lady with a 60 reg mercedes running into store!!!

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  • JerryLew  |  December 15 2012, 8:03PM

    Do not look at extending the issue of badges - look first at the misuse of them. Then look at the misuse of free cars issued. First of all stop them getting over the 7 bridge for nowt.

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  • Lunkhed  |  December 15 2012, 4:53PM

    Do those with autism require extra wide spaces to get out of a car? Can they not walk across a car park (or to one)? This is nonsense - and yes, my child is autism-spectrum.

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  • BobEvans2011  |  December 15 2012, 4:30PM

    This is just getting totally daft. THe scheme is alteeady grossly abused what next extend it to those with babies or the obese. Most of the current Blue Badge holder do not need them. THey are supposed to be able to walk less than 25 yards so why do huge supermarkets have lots of blue badge bays? Yhese stores are massive Some of these Blue Bade holders seem very feeet at the rate the sprint into the stiore and they being able to push a huge trolly growning with food back to the car.

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  • JohnSW4  |  December 15 2012, 3:21PM

    Many Autistic boys girls can and do show behavior that many "enlightened" people find difficult to understand especially if the autism is accompanied with turrets and in most cases it does! Some even have to have 2 carers! At this time of the year they love going shopping!Ask your selves why you don't see adults with those problems because there are thousands of them!And would love to go shopping in all of the shops, its difficult,awkward and believe me the have been times when they have been asked to leave or don't bring them back again! Most can and love walking and running! Ask your selves when was the last time you made a conversation with people with such disability's most look the other way! The use of a blue badge for those who care under certain circumstances would be wonderful right now at Christmas!

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  • maxmin  |  December 15 2012, 11:03AM

    This is silly. The blue badge scheme was brought in so that people who had difficulties in physically moving from one place to the next could park closer to their destinations. If you start to allow people with non- physical disabilities a blue badge where does it end? How about people who stammer, or are excessively shy?

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