The Motability scheme was set up to enable the disabled to gain access to transport in the same way that the able-bodied could. Prior to the 1970s, car ownership in the UK was largely limited to the middle and upper classes.
However, by 1970 the vast majority of homes owned a car. Sadly, many disabled people were still unable to be able to afford to do so. To address this imbalance the government, in 1977, set up a scheme to help the disabled to find, adapt where necessary and run a car just like other families could.
The scheme was a great success. By 2006, over 2,000,000 cars have been leased under the scheme. Today, 580,000 people run a car, electric scooter or powered wheelchair using funds provided by the scheme.
Qualifying for Motability
Anybody in the UK aged from the age of 3 upwards who is in receipt of the Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) or War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) could qualify for the scheme. For those aged 3 to 17 the funds the scheme provides are there to allow a parent or guardian to purchase a vehicle and use it to transport the disabled person until they are old enough to drive themselves. In addition, the scheme is also open to those who cannot drive themselves, such as the blind. In these cases, the funds are used by a carer who provides transport for the disabled person or to pay for public transport.
The Future of the Motability Scheme
There are currently no plans to scrap the scheme. Whilst many other areas of funding for the disabled have been severely cut, this scheme remains intact. However, because to access the scheme you have to be in receipt of certain allowances i.e. DLA or WPMS cuts in other areas may mean that less people qualify for these allowances. As a result, less people will meet the criteria necessary to receive the Motability allowance.
However, cutting the Motability allowance itself is unlikely to happen. This is largely because the government desperately want the disabled to enter the regular workforce. They recognise that to do so the disabled need the same access to transport as everybody else. Currently, they see cutting the scheme as a false economy; therefore, for the moment anyway, it is immune from the cuts.
To learn more about the Motability scheme and get help with buying a vehicle contact William A Lewis’s specialist team.