Motability customers, those who lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair in exchange for their mobility allowance, have steadily increased in number over recent years. In its 2019 half-year report, the Motability Scheme claims to have provided more than 4.5 million vehicles since its inception in 1977, transforming the lives of disabled people and their families through the freedom of driving.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions, there were 29% of eligible claimants on the Motability Scheme in 2008, increasing to 36% in 2017, when 614,000 customers out of the eligible 1.2 million signed up.
This may be due to the expansion in eligibility since 1977, before which only disabled people who could drive themselves were offered any government help.
Nowadays, eligibility is open to anyone claiming the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
Yet more recently in February 2019, there were 625,000 Motability customers, an increase of only 11,000, out of a potential 3.8 million combined DLA and PIP eligible claimants. Perhaps more education and awareness of the scheme is needed to widen the net and reach more people.
After all, the benefits are 10-fold. The main scheme is a three-year car lease with a 60,000-mile limit, above which excess mileage charges apply. Moreover, it’s an all-inclusive, hassle-free package, with insurance, road tax, servicing, tyres and breakdown cover all included.
There’s also the option to add any necessary car adaptions, often free of charge. For adaptations that aren’t free and for those who struggle to pay, Motability can offer a charitable donation. This year alone, Motability reported an enormous total of £22.8 million in charitable grants, helping around 8,500 disabled people.
A far cry from the scheme’s launch in 1977, you can now choose up to two people to drive on your behalf, highlighting the scheme’s growth and the greater awareness of different disabilities. Additionally, all profits are reinvested for the benefit of disabled people, with surplus funds donated to the Motability charity.
"Perhaps more education and awareness of the scheme is needed to widen the net and reach more people."
Furthermore, the huge investment of £1.37 billion since 2008, and an additional £400-million donation in 2018 has ensured that Motability can fund its brilliant charitable offers. These include generous adaptation grants, a bonus upon returning vehicles in good condition, and providing cars with a 44% reduction in market price.