Motobility Vs the Daily Mail

By: A.C.

A rather small and under –reported item in the BBC news caught my attention this week.

Motability is a charity that has funded millions of vehicles for the disabled and given them independent living. 

This story started in the Daily mail, which is in no way a friend of the disabled,  or indeed those who it sees as getting anything for free. In short their little “ crusade” is highly suspicious.

The Daily Mail reported

  “The firm offers a fleet of vehicles to wheelchair users and others in return for part of their State disability allowance. If it handed the £2.4billion to the Treasury it could fund 68,000 police officers for a year, the building of two hospitals and also cover prostate cancer research for a decade.

MPs have called for an investigation and demanded the money be returned. A Motability insider admitted there was ‘nervousness’ within the company about its cash reserves and it feared it was ‘only a matter of time before the Treasury notices and makes a bid to claw the money back.”

This story does seem somewhat ironic to those who have had that part of the award in PIP/DLA removed, very quickly followed by their vehicle which renders the formerly mobility recipient  of the “State money” housebound or unable to get to work

Motability is a company which is on its website, Motability Operations, states:

“1979 Motability Operations established to run the Motability Scheme overseen by Motability (the registered charity). Disabled people able to exchange their mobility allowance to lease a Motability vehicle. Participating manufacturers were British Leyland (Rover), Chrysler (Peugeot), Ford and Vauxhall.

1989 : The Government introduced a number of changes including the removal of car tax for leased cars, which made the Motability Scheme more affordable.

1992 New Disability Living Allowance (DLA), combining mobility and care elements, introduced. This led to a growth in the numbers of people joining the Scheme.

By 1997, with 21 manufacturers participating on the Scheme, customers benefited from expanded choice. Each manufacturer offered a range of models including Citroen, Fiat, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault.”

The Coalition Government in 2010 then launched an anti-disabled /welfare programme , carried on by the Tory Government , and over the last eight years at the last count in this report of April 2017,  saw 50, 000 vehicles returned.

Of course the Daily Mail saw things differently and has consistently railed against the disabled by highlighting that disabled people are scammers and frauds. They used the example in the link above to infer that disabled people in general were the same. So the Daily Mail is not new to this campaign against the disabled. 

If the Government takes away Motability vehicles by using cruel assessment methods to deny those who previously qualified, then I am not surprised by the surplus quoted.

Simple economics start in the form of household budgeting. Motability are given money by taxpayers to provide– as a charity– the funding, provision and good running of the scheme for those who qualify for the vehicles. Something it has done since 1979.

In sending back at least 50,000 vehicles, with that figure rising, then one can see that the Charity on receiving the previous financial years  amount of cash to fund fewer vehicles would indeed mean a surplus.  Then again the Government has also changed the rules on how they see which vehicles will be allowable on the road in the next twenty years.  Electric and hybrid cars are being backed and no doubt Motability will have to provide those more expensive vehicles.  Owning diesel or petrol will be outlawed,  or very expensive in the future.   

So hedging a fund of money to deal with the economics of providing expensive hybrid/electric cars in the future due to Government enforced policies on Transportation could be what the Charity is doing.

So all of that is nothing to do with Motability, or the fact that 50,000 plus vehicle which were being used by people previously adjudged by DWP assessors to be entitled to the vehicle to give them independence, and then suddenly had them removed by the assessors of Capita, ATOS or Maximus, leaving them housebound with no entitlement to mobility- that is  the scandal.

 Not the surplus.

The right–wing press and its media followers in Channel 5 have consistently hammered the disabled and those on benefits by portraying them as layabouts, scammers and frauds.

So I am not surprised at Esther McVey responding to the voice of her Political supporters in the Daily Mail by ordering an investigation.   

Of course all those fleet vehicles swamping the market as a result of the denying of the mobility allowance, means that for the non–disabled, they can pick up a very reasonably priced vehicle.  

The Scottish Government have produced a report on the Indirect impact of Personal Independence Payments and that report along with comments on Motability, PIP &c can be found here.

There are numerous articles on Motability, in our Blog archives.  Simply enter the word Motability into the search box on the right, and select.

These are just two:

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