Motability has admitted that up to 100,000 disabled people could have to hand back the vehicles they lease under its car scheme, because of the government’s cuts and reforms to disability living allowance (DLA).
Motability currently has about 600,000 customers, who all use their higher rate mobility component of DLA to lease a vehicle.
But the government’s reform of working-age DLA, which will see it replaced by a new personal independence payment (PIP), will involve cuts of 20 per cent to spending by 2015-16, with an estimated 500,000 working-age disabled people losing their right to DLA/PIP.
Disabled people will only continue to be eligible to lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme if they are awarded the PIP enhanced mobility element.
Motability admitted for the first time this week, during a workshop at a conference organised by Disability Rights UK, that an estimated 100,000 of its customers – based on government forecasts – could lose their eligibility for the scheme over the three years to 2016.
Neil Coyle, director of policy and campaigns for Disability Rights UK, said afterwards: “For Motability to be raising concerns now clearly means disabled people using Motability schemes need to be ready for significant change, and many will lose the ability to get around.”
He said government figures suggested that an average of 150 people in every parliamentary constituency would lose their Motability vehicle because of the cuts.
He said: “MPs should be very aware that this will mean high-profile cuts to disabled people who are at the moment assessed as having the highest mobility needs.
“Many thousands of people will lose the ability to get around and will lose the means to stay in work.”
Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns for the user-led campaigning organisation Disabled Motoring UK, said she was “alarmed” by the “vast number” of people who will have to hand back the keys to their Motability vehicles.
She said: “I do fear the implications for people currently using Motability vehicles, and relying on those vehicles for work or education, suddenly losing not just the vehicle but the benefit.
“A lot of people who will lose their vehicles will not be able to use public transport. A lot of people are going to become much more housebound. Will they be able to get out at all?”
A Motability spokeswoman said: “We recognise the importance of Motability cars to the lives of our customers and their families, and are considering how best to support customers through the transition period.”
When asked what impact this would have on Motability’s own finances, she said: “Following the full implementation of PIP, if 100,000 fewer customers use the scheme, Motability would continue to operate in the same way as it does today.
“The Department for Work and Pensions plans to gradually introduce PIP between 2013 and 2016. Therefore, customer numbers could gradually reduce over this period.”
15 November 2012
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com