We met with the Transport Minister recently to hear our concerns on the issues faced by people with Crohn’s and Colitis successfully applying for a Blue Badge in England.
Thanks to the combined power of thousands of supporters, we were able to secure a meeting in late October with Jesse Norman MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport in England.
With nearly 2,500 people sending tweets to the Minister asking for a meeting with the charity. Thanks to your voices, we were able to secure guarantees by the Minister both about the current criteria and the future guidance.
At the meeting, we discussed the variation in the current blue badge system, where some people are able to get it, and some are told by their Council that they are excluded. We also raised the issue of the new criteria and lobbied for the physical and psychological impact of leaving the house and getting to a toilet urgently, to apply under one of the new criteria which states “cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress”.
Because the current criteria are not condition specific, the Minister provided guarantees that the current criteria should not specifically exclude people with Crohn’s or Colitis applying for a Blue Badge as each application should be treated on its merits.
This will also be the case under the new reformed system, which is designed to better take account of hidden disabilities.
The Minister understood the issues faced by people with Crohn’s and Colitis when out and about in getting to a toilet, and was sympathetic to our concerns. He was clear that he cannot provide any guarantees on the new criteria but also said that we should continue to help shape the new system in the future.
It was a successful meeting as we got reassurances that neither the current nor the future Blue Badge criteria exclude those with Crohn’s or Colitis applying for a Blue Badge, where each application should be judged on its own merits. Whilst this was positive, it was clear that we will need to continue to lobby the Government to ensure that the future regulations and guidance specifically cover the hugely disabling impact that incontinence can have on travel and social isolation.
Having pressed the Minister on timescales for the new criteria, he said that given other Government priorities, the new criteria will take time to deliver, so will not be delivered anytime soon.
Taking into consideration the timescales involved and given the reassurances by the Minister that the criteria should be applied consistently across England, we want to hear from you!
If your local Council has refused to even accept your Blue Badge application please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.