The MP for Bracknell has slammed the ‘ridiculous and shameful’ lack of disabled parking badges for those with serious non visible disabilities and has called on the Government to act.

People with disabilities can make use of disabled access parking using Blue Badges, which are issued by councils.

Recently, an investigation into Bracknell Forest Council’s Blue Badge allocation  concluded after concerns were previously raised about the application process.

The investigation, which was undertaken by councillors, took place due to complaints from residents, and a report that found that Bracknell Forest had the biggest disparity between those with visible and non-visible Blue Badge allocations in the country. This was after the Government allowed those with no-visible disabilities to apply for Blue Badges in August 2019.

READ MORE: Bracknell Forest has one of highest disparities for Blue Badge approvals in the UK, 'shocking' new figures reveal

The majority of applications for Blue Badges were refused within a year of the criteria being expanded. Former Local Democracy Reporter Oliver Sirrell reported that of the 144 people who applied for a blue badge for someone with a non-visible disability from January to August 2020, 50 were approved and 69 were refused, with the remaining 25 not completed or not decided.

Now, Conservative MP for Bracknell James Sunderland has called on the Government’s Department for Transport to provide more precise guidelines on which people with non-visible disabilities should be entitled to Blue Badges, including those in receipt of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit.

Mr Sunderland said: “I continue to lobby Department for Transport for a change in policy but I am also grateful to Bracknell Forest Council for leaning in. This is ultimately about supporting those who need our support.

“The policy is currently too open to interpretation and it allows councils the discretion to say no, even for proven non-physical disabilities.

“We need to make the policy more explicit so that all those with PIP scores of 12, 10, and below are given the support they need.

“And let’s be clear, families actually pay for their own blue badge and there’s no shortage of allocated parking spaces so let’s do the right thing. The fact that we are even discussing this is ridiculous and shameful.”

READ MORE: Investigators call for an overhaul of Bracknell's blue badge process after scrutiny

The investigation into Bracknell Forest Council’s Blue Badge allocation procedure was conducted by councillors on the Wellbeing and Finance Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

It recommended that the council should draw up its own Blue Badge application form, and formulate its own guidance/guidelines that explain the approach to assessing blue badges in Bracknell Forest.

These recommendations were sent to the council’s executive and its adult services department which is in charge of allocating blue badges. Bracknell’s adult service department is conducting its own review of the Blue Badge process, which is due to conclude in September.

In addition, Mr Sunderland said that the Department of Transport is conducting its own Blue Badge Policy Review on a national level.