It was supposed to be an aid to help disabled people live normal, productive lives – but the trouble with giving people schemes like Motability is they can all-too-easily be taken away.
And that is what the Conservative government has been doing. The latest figure from the Motability Scheme itself shows that 102,000 people have lost their entitlement to a specially-adapted vehicle.
The method the Tories are using to take away this vital lifeline is simple: transfer their benefit claim from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.
And I’ve been reporting it for years.
You see, the Tories toughened the eligibility regime for disability benefit when they introduced PIP and used it to replace DLA.
In 2015, I reported that they were stripping Motability cars from 200 people every week.
So, for example, a teenager called Olivia – who lost a leg to cancer – was told she was not disabled enough for a Motability car. The DWP said she could keep it until a certain date – then reneged on the agreement, leaving her with days to raise £4,900 to buy the vehicle.
As I stated at the time, that’s a tall order for a girl who’s still at sixth form.
By 2016, 14,000 disabled people had lost their cars, based on figures provided to the BBC by Motability. But then-minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson claimed he did not have that figure when asked a direct question in Parliament.
Was he misleading Parliament?
Later in 2016, his successor Penny Mordaunt misled Parliament on the effect of PIP on Motability users. She claimed that, compared to DLA, “more people are entitled to use the Motability scheme”.
In fact, of customers who had been reassessed for PIP, 44 per cent had lost their entitlement.
By 2018, 75,000 disabled people had been forced to return their Motability cars by an uncaring Tory government – although then-Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey was caught misleading Parliament about it by Lord Stirling, who co-founded Motability in 1977.
And now the total is 102,000 – and likely to go higher still before reassessments for PIP are concluded in March this year.
The loss of the vehicles means the Tories have denied these people the ability to travel to work and access leisure and other independent living opportunities.
It means they are likely to be condemned to a life staring at the four walls of their home – until the Tories find an excuse to cut off whatever remaining benefits are left to them.
And you’ll spit when you find out the reason used to take away the ability of these people to travel anywhere.
It was a change in the rules that means you lose the higher mobility rate if you can walk further than 20m. Under DLA, it was 50m.
That’s right – think about it.
The Tories took from 102,000 people the ability to travel anywhere, because those people were able to walk up to 30m further than they allowed.
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