People in the Vale of Clwyd with severe cognitive impairments such as autism are to be entitled to a blue badge for the first time, thanks to the Welsh Labour Government.

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones has welcomed the announcement by the Minister responsible for transport, Carl Sargeant, following proposed changes in the UK welfare benefits system.

Blue badge eligibility is to be extended to individuals that:

  • Cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. This includes people with cognitive and sensory impairments, or
  • Can stand and then move but no more than 50 metres.

In Wales there are around 230,000 Blue Badges in use and 2.5 million across the UK. The new extension will come into place on April 1st 2013.

Ann Jones said:

“Once again Welsh Labour is showing it is standing up for the vulnerable across Wales and giving support to those who need it most.

“People with severe cognitive impairments deserve to be entitled to the blue badge and it will really help them overcome barriers they face with work or simply accessing facilities such as shops or the bank.

“In the Programme for Government we have made a commitment to reduce poverty amongst some of our poorest communities.

“We’ve always been clear about our concern at the potential impact that UK Government welfare reforms may have on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Wales.

“By linking automatic eligibility for a Blue Badge in Wales to PIP we’ve helped to mitigate the detrimental impact that changes to the UK welfare system will have on those that currently access the free Blue Badge in Wales.”