MP Debbie Abrahams has welcomed “long overdue” changes to the blue badge parking scheme.

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP has campaigned for the changes, which extend to cover people with non-physical conditions, like dementia and autism.

Ms Abrahams, who has set creating a dementia friendly Oldham as one of her top priorities, encouraged people to take part in the online conversation leading to the Government’s blue badge rethink.

“I am very pleased these changes are coming in as some disabilities are hidden, so to speak,” she said.

“Tasks the majority of us take for granted, like shopping, going to the doctors or out for a social event, can be much harder for someone with dementia.

“Having a blue badge is going to make life a little easier for many people, and their carers, who are living with dementia, autism and mental health issues.”

Until the changes were announced the process for getting a blue badge varied from one local authority to another as the national criteria was not clear on the how the scheme covers physical and non-physical conditions.

The change in policy could mean that tens of thousands of people with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia and mental health conditions may be eligible to get a blue badge parking permit from next year.