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THE Tories have been forced into a U-turn over “blue badge” parking, after having to return the right to people with hidden disabilities such as mental health and autism.
People with hidden disabilities were able to use reserved parking spots for decades after the blue badge scheme was introduced in 1970.
But, when the Tory government changed disability entitlements rule in 2013 during the shift from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the parking rights of people with autism and other hidden disabilities such as mental health problems were withdrawn.
Many disabled people also lost their rights to subsidised transport such as specially adapted vehicles.
The U-turn is a personal victory for disability rights campaigner Christine Stringer.
She took legal action against the government after her 50-year-old son, who had autism, mental health problems and learning difficulties, saw his blue badge withdrawn under PIP.
He had blue badge parking rights from the time he left school, but he was told it would be withdrawn under the new Tory regulations.
Sadly the U-turn will not benefit Ms Stringer’s son — he died recently.
Linda Burnip of campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts said: “This is yet another U-turn by the government forced on them by Christine threatening legal action on behalf of her son. He had a blue badge for 35 years then lost entitlement.”
Jane Harris of the National Autistic Society said the change would “make a massive difference to the lives of many of the 600,000 autistic people in England and their families.”
Around 2.4 million disabled people in Britain have blue badge rights.
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