This story first appeared in the Information Point newsletter Our World in 2010, when Mike Abram told us about his experience of the Motability scheme.
The UK Motability Scheme began in the 1970’s when it was recognised that almost every household in the country owned a car but disabled people were missing out. Only those who could drive themselves received any government help with transport. This was usually in the form of a small, blue trike which was unable to take passengers.
A Mobility Allowance was introduced by the UK Government in 1976 but whilst being a positive advance, it soon became clear that it was not nearly enough to buy and run the smallest car. So, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Services invited the late Lord Goodman to review how disabled people could use the allowance to obtain a vehicle.
The Motability charity was born in 1977 – today it enables disabled people to afford a good quality car, powered wheelchair or scooter from any participating manufacturer, fully insured, serviced and with breakdown assistance in exchange for either their Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or their War Pensioners’ Mobility. The charity also raises funds and makes grants, in order to provide customers with a complete mobility package, even if their allowance would not cover the type of car and adaptations that they needed.
I have had a Motability car for the past nine years and have had three cars through the Motability scheme. I am currently driving a Renault Scenic 1.6 Petrol and will be taking delivery of a top spec Renault Scenic 1.9 dci TOMTOM Privilege (Diesel) later this year.
Almost all cars are available via the scheme from Minis to Landrovers to Mercedes-Benzs’. In excess of 400 cars are available via the scheme with no upfront cost, however should someone require a higher specification, the upfront cost is based on the end of lease value of the car. All cars are supplied with a petrol or diesel engine, metallic paint and an automatic or manual gearbox.
The net cost to me, at this time, for the three year lease is £799 or £5.12 a week plus the cost of the diesel. Motabilty or the car dealer sort all problems for you and provide a loan car if necessary. There are cost savings too, I can nominate up to two drivers free or a third for £50 extra and grants are available to cover the cost of adaptations if I ever require these. Parents or carers can apply on behalf of a child aged three years and upwards.
Cars are provided on either a three year term or a five year term for heavily adapted cars or scooters. At the end of the term there must be no body damage and not more than 60,000 miles on the clock.
Having a Motability car gives me freedom of movement and means I am not reliant on others to get out and about. I find the scheme to be very good value – insurance, road tax, servicing and tyres are included in the cost. I would recommend that others with mobility issues investigate the scheme to see how it can help them.