Changes to Motability scheme

  • Changes afoot to prevent misuse of system
  • Maximum advanced payment now £2,000
  • Drivers under 25 restricted to 115bhp cars

There have been significant changes to the way the Motability scheme is run in response to the problem of people abusing the system.

A more streamlined selection of cars is now available, while a maximum advance payment of £2,000 is now in force (although this doesn’t apply to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles). This means you’ll be able to get a car worth around £25,000 at the most.

Any car that is applied for through the Motability scheme must be used for the benefit of the disabled customer. For this reason, drivers under 21 will only be accepted if they live in the same residence as the disabled person they drive for. Drivers under 25 will be restricted to cars below insurance group 16, meaning the maximum power output for such drivers is 115bhp. All drivers must also now live within five miles of the disabled person’s home.

There will be a ‘statement of responsibility’ which must be signed by the lease customer and the nominated drivers along with the dealer involved, ensuring the duties of each party are clear and understood.

Motability, an independent charity, hopes that the changes will mean clearer policies and a more customer-centric service alongside a system which avoids misuse of the scheme.

The changes to car selection will come into effect right away, although the charity will honour any existing orders outstanding. All of the other changes will come into force from January 1 next year.

If you’re already part of the scheme there will be no change to your circumstances for the remainder of your lease period.

Motability Chairman Lord Sterling explains why the changes were necessary: “Like any organisation with close to 600,000 customers, there are a small minority of customers who will try to abuse the scheme.

“Motability works with a range of partners, including for example motor dealers, the DVLA and the police, to ensure that effective procedures are in place to protect the scheme and to ensure that we respond effectively to all allegations of misuse.

“During our last financial year, a number of steps were taken to further improve liaison with the police, including a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

“Over this period, we dealt with 7,144 allegations relating to fraud or abuse of the scheme. These included cases of uninsured driving, unauthorised use of scheme cars, drink-driving and even criminal activity, many of which led to prosecution by the police.

“Enforcement action was taken by Motability in 2,139 cases, including 829 customers who had their agreements terminated and their cars withdrawn.

“In addition, 486 applicants were suspended or permanently excluded from the scheme. We will continue to invest in this activity to protect the reputation of the Scheme and of the vast majority of our disabled customers.

You can read our guide to Motability here.