Well over 100,000 to lose Motability vehicles under draconian new rules

Man on crutches

For resources to lobby your MP, see http://wearespartacus.org.uk/pip-emergency-act-now/

For a video demonstration of how this will affect me, see https://janeyoung.me.uk/2013/01/01/how-welfare-reform-will-take-away-my-independence/

When I blogged on this topic back in January 2012, I predicted thousands of disabled people would lose their Motability vehicles under the Government’s draft criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), set to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) under the Welfare Reform Act. Yesterday, the Government published the final version of the criteria and the reality is far, far worse than we could have imagined.

Many consultation responses on the draft criteria complained that the descriptors for Activity 12 (Activity 11 in the draft), addressing physical difficulties in moving around, were unclear and confusing. We hoped they would be clarified; in particular, we expected clarification that being unable to walk more than 50 metres would qualify claimants for the enhanced mobility component and the Motability scheme. But we’re stunned by the decision that to qualify for Motability, a claimant needs to be unable to walk more than 20 metres – a far shorter distance*.

This has massive repercussions for the majority of Motability customers who, whilst they might be able to walk 20 metres, do nonetheless have very significant difficulties getting around. Under the second draft criteria, published in January, DWP predicted that 27% fewer working age people would be eligible for the scheme once PIP was fully rolled out. It is now clear from the Government’s own figures that 42% fewer disabled people of working age will be eligible for the Motability scheme once PIP is fully rolled out than would have been eligible had DLA continued unchanged (see Personal Independence Payment: Reassessment and Impacts, published 13 December 2012).

So what will this mean for disabled people? Only those with the greatest difficulty getting around, mainly those who use a wheelchair most of the time, will qualify for the Motability scheme on grounds of physical impairment. Huge numbers of disabled people with serious musculo-skeletal conditions, serious heart conditions or respiratory difficulties, cerebral palsy, neurological conditions such as MS and ME and many, many more will no longer benefit from the scheme. Their car will simply be taken away before they have a chance to appeal.

Those who no longer qualify for Motability are likely to be unable to get to work, attend medical appointments, visit friends, go shopping or, indeed, have much of a life at all. More than a hundred thousand people, who were previously able to get out and about independently, will find themselves staring at four walls; they will need more support for essential journeys, such as medical appointments, and their quality of life will be decimated. When visiting a small supermarket, 20 metres doesn’t even get you from the parking space to the entrance, never mind around the supermarket. In fact, lots of people have to walk more than 20 metres from their car to their front door when they get home again!

Disabled people who live in rural areas will be hurt the most. What little public transport is available is less likely to be accessible. There may be no local shops, no GP or pharmacy nearby; asking for a lift to the GP means asking someone to commit a considerable part of their day to drive a considerable distance.

Then there’s the knock-on effect on the UK car industry and the wider economy. In our report, Emergency Stop, which is an updated version of  Reversing from Recovery, the Spartacus network has used the DWP’s own projections to demonstrate the knock-on effect on the car industry and wider economy once all DLA claimants of working age have been migrated to PIP. Under the final PIP criteria, the effect on the car industry and economy will be much more serious than it would have been under the consultation draft:

  • the car industry could lose nearly 50,000 new car sales a year (we predicted a loss of 31,450 sales under earlier projections),
  • more than 5,500 jobs could be lost from the economy (we predicted a loss of just over 3,500 jobs under earlier projections)
  • the Treasury could lose £126 million in tax receipts from motor-related industries (we predicted a loss of £79 million under earlier projections),

as a result of fewer claimants using the Motability scheme by the time PIP has been fully rolled out. And of course, if disabled people lose their jobs because they can no longer get to work, they will claim more in benefits and pay less tax.

For some, there is one slight cause for encouragement: the Government has listened to concerns about the speed of implementation and the necessity for evaluation and revised its timetable. DLA claimants with indefinite awards will only start to be reassessed from October 2015 – but newer claimants are more likely to have been given time-limited awards and therefore won’t benefit. And without extra assurances from either side of the political divide, we have to assume that the criteria published today will eventually affect all DLA claimants, albeit with implementation taking place over a longer timetable.

Hundreds of thousands of disabled people whose cars are vital to their life and health stand to lose virtually everything. No car = no independence, no job, no salary (with a consequent risk of homelessness), no social life plus increased dependence on family members, health and social care services and other benefits to survive. This begs the question: how does this cut help disabled people to fulfill the social contract of being part of society and contributing by work, volunteering or being part of their community? Even those held up by the Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, as inspirational role models will have their lives cruelly and unnecessarily restricted.

Wheelchair user getting into carThe Government has clearly paid little heed to the impact of this ‘reform’ on disabled people’s human rights. There is no doubt that the PIP criteria for people with a physical difficulty in getting around is retrogressive under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the UK in 2009. The proposals seriously compromise disabled people’s human rights under several Articles of the Convention, including, among others, the right to live independently and to be included in the community (Article 19), and the right to personal mobility, specifically to….’ personal mobility with the greatest possible independence’ (Article 20).

This attack on the lives of disabled people who have difficulty getting around is NOT a price worth paying. MP’s on both sides of the House of Commons should vote these regulations down. The Government can, and must, do much better than this, if it really wants to build on the legacy of the Paralympics.


* To get the enhanced mobility component of PIP, you need to accrue 12 points from either the first or second mobility activity in Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the PIP regulations. The first activity (Activity 11 in other DWP documents) covers non-physical difficulties with planning or following a journey and the second activity (Activity 12 in other DWP documents) covers physical difficulties in getting around. To get 12 points from the second activity alone, you have to be unable to stand then move more than 20 metres. If you have no difficulties with planning or following a journey and you can walk more than 20 metres, you will not be awarded the enhanced mobility component and you will not be eligible for the Motability scheme.

40 thoughts on “Well over 100,000 to lose Motability vehicles under draconian new rules

  1. Jane, can you explain to new readers that the detail is to be found in Schedule 1 Part 3 Mobility Activities (where you’ve linked to the final version of the criteria in your first paragraph) and that in order to qualify for Enhanced Rate Mobility under PIP – and therefore be entitled to Motability vehicle – a person will have to score no less than 12 points just from the Mobility box alone (irrespective of how many points they score under Daily Living)

    I found a thing about how many points you need for the Enhanced Rate here in the Executive Summary on page 3 http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pip-assessment-thresholds-and-consultation.pdf

    • I can’t even walk 7 steps without been out of breath ,never mind 20 mt or 50 mt .But if I have to go through another year like this year I WILL DO MYSELF IN AS I HAVE BEEN HOUSE BOUND SEVERL TIMES THIS YEAR WITH MY SCOOTER BRACKING DOWN .I am dew to get my car BACK WHEN IV BEEN TO THE TRIBUNAL WHEN I GET

  2. How many bus stops are no more than 20 metres from ones home? Mine are not.

    • Nope, none that close to me either. No postbox, no shop, no doctor, no pharmacy, no nothing. Nothing I can do or go to. Actually that’s also true of 50m but at least I have my car for the next 18 months, but then my car is 40m from my door).

  3. Why do the govt always pick on the disabled as a way to save money. It isn’t going to save anything, certainly not our sanity or in some cases our lives. If you take away our finances, our freedom ( a vehicle) and our quality of life, what do we have left? I have heard of extremely physically/mentally disabled people having everything taken away from them. They can’t LIVE without these things, and don’t!!!! Suicide rates will soar. I feel that the Govt should use all this money to search out the scroungers/benefit cheats, and leave the disabled alone to live their lives without any more stress than necessary.

  4. Pingback: PLEASE NOTE: Well over 100,000 to lose Motability vehicles under draconian new rules published yesterday (Thursday 13 December)‏ « Same Difference

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  6. Far too many people keep mentioning benefit cheats. They need to stop focusing on them. They cost the country nothing and a quick look into the figures proves this. Most claim for what they are entitled to, just like David Cameron did, who although filthy rich, claimed disability living allowance for his child. The term ‘benefit cheat’ is political propaganda to divert attention from massive companies like Vodafone getting away with not paying billions in taxes & the real cheats that are claiming expenses when they earn millions. MP’s anyone? I don’t hear/see anyone in Parliament throwing the book at them, do you? Benefit cheats are earning the same pittance other people get and are doing no harm, even if they are lazy. Most are not even capable of work and can’t do the simplest of tasks, mainly because they are ultra dense and had no access to a proper education, however because they have limbs, or work a few hrs for extra cash to pay extortionate energy bills, they are deemed cheats. It’s classic divide and rule and no ones looks at the bigger picture.

    I suffer from Chronic ear disease, live with constant infections and balance issues. I contracted severe depression as a result and even I was signed off too. I am clearly unfit for work. No one cares. I will lose my house and pathetic enough lifestyle, have been living on bread and water for two months now and I guess I am a cheat, because I don’t need someone wiping my bum for me and my arms and legs work?

    If people are not going to revolt or protest about illegal wars which cost people billions, bank bailouts, obvious euthanasia by the Conservatives, national companies avoiding taxes and MP’s fiddling every penny they can get, they shouldn’t pick on supposed ‘benefit cheats’ either. The latter is not imploding the economy and are just easy targets like the genuinely sick and disabled.

    • I have never cheated anybody in my life yet I have been cheated all the way by the employer who wormed their way out of paying compensation for my accident the NHS Consultant that refused to treat me so I had to go elsewhere I object to this Government calling me a cheat because of my disabilities. We too run out of food and heating just had my DLA the more we fight back the more we are portrayed to the public as scroungers by Government spin. So many people with disabilities feel their lives are worthless and they would be better off dead people are dying or thinking about this course of action just be aware you are not alone there is a Facebook site called ATOS Miracles it offers a different perspective as well as humour Tiny Tim would be fit for work it gets me through!

  7. Anyone else find it ironic that some major supermarkets have moved the disabled parking further away to give priority to people in 4x4s with small children so that they will inevitably reverse over them as they cannot see them out the back window?

    Before people in the UK comment on the madness of the US gun laws, perhaps they should consider the contempt that our Government are showing to the weak and needy as they ignore the obvious crime of tax avoidance that is totally out of control in the UK..

  8. By the time disabled people have walked from their car to the assessment centres, it will likely be more than 20 metres and “prove” they are not entitled to anything. This policy is a shambles, severely discriminatory and utterly disgraceful in the 21st Century, when we should be giving more people greater access to a life, not less.

    I have a lifetime award dating back almost 20 years and rely totally on my vehicle to transport my children to school and for my self-employed work. If we lose the car, the children lose out by not being able to get places, by missing out on their education, their holidays, their days out and I won’t be able to work and will have to go back to being on JSA, not a place any of us want to be in.

    • This is exactly the point; I will quote your second paragraph, if I may, without of course giving your name. It’s the kind of succinct, unsentimental paragraph MPs need to see!

      We’re mounting as good a campaign as we can in the final days before Christmas; this last minute moving of the goalposts is our worst nightmare!!


  9. Of course, if you can’t walk 20 metres to your assessment, you will be deemed to have failed to attend and lose your benefit anyway. And, if you can’t walk 20 metres you won’t be able to get to the polling station to vote these stupid, evil people out of office at the next General Election. So it’s win, win, win all the way for the Tories.

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  12. This is ludicrous, I’m fairly certain I’m going to end up having to appeal the loss of my Motability car as a result.

  13. Who voted these Tory idiots in? What did people think that they were going to do? People have very short memories of the Thatcher years and what went on then.. I don’t know how these MPs sleep at night. These new PIP rules will result in about half a dozen claiments being allowed a motability vehicle, as there will be so many who will not fulfill the criteria. It is like turning the clocks back 50 years and all the hard fought rights swept away overnight.

  14. I have not as yet had the misfortune to be hauled in by Atos/Dwp. As a HRM/HRC for ‘life’ award and have been to quote my Physio ‘well known to wheelchair services’ for many years as a non weight bearing power-wheelie, I fully expect that on application for PIP, ATOS will perform a miracle that medical science will be dumb-founded by, They will pronounce that I can walk !!!!
    Will have to ensure that whichever Assessor interviews for a face to face is fully aware of my powerchair as it runs over their toes * evil grin *

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  16. It would be interesting to add up the cost of alternative transport and other services for people who lose DLA and the cars and wheelchairs it helps to buy such as getting to medical appointments, taking children to school, voluntary and paid work. People say families should do more but many carers have health problems of their own, have others to care for or need to stay in with the person who needs them.

    • Hi Penny, We are Spartacus, of which I am co-ordinator, produced a report along these lines in June; I’m currently updating it to reflect the very much tighter criteria for enhanced rate mobility component of PIP published last week. The reality is that taking away people’s higher rate mobility component will cost the economy and other public services a huge amount of money, and we have no evidence that suggests the DWP has considered that. They don’t seem to consult with other departments at all. Taking away many thousands of Motability cars will definitely cost the public purse more and have a detrimental effect on the economy, but no-one in Government seems able to grasp that. As usual, it’s sick and disabled people themselves who have to put in all the work – all my Christmas preparations are on hold now that I have to get a briefing and report to politicians tomorrow!

  17. I have secondary breast cancer in my spine and hip. I had to have a hip replacement when the cancer broke my femur in my right leg. I have to go to hospital every three weeks on a Monday to have life prolonging cancer drugs. If I have to lose my DLA and car I will just give up with the treatment as my life won’t be worth prolonging if I have to travel on buses everywhere. Simples.

    • Hi Jo, so sorry you’re having such a rough time. If you have an indefinite DLA award, you won’t be reassessed until after October 2015, which gives you a little more time. I feel like copying and pasting your comment into an email I’m drafting to the person at DWP who decided the criteria because it makes me SOOOO furious, what they’re doing to us all. Take care, Jane

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    POST IT !!!






  20. re last comment, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that it’s better to write; I think that generalisation applies more to copy and paste template emails such as 38 degrees, rather than to personalised individual emails. Especially during the recess (19th Dec to 8th Jan) your MP might be checking emails sporadically but not necessarily going into the constituency office to pick up mail http://www.parliament.uk/about/faqs/house-of-commons-faqs/business-faq-page/recess-dates/ ) I’d repeat what I said on Beth’s blog though that if possible, put your message and image inline, because many MPs don’t click on attachments. There are some MPs who never respond to emails, but in time you get to work out who these are.

  21. sorry pressed send too soon, if you DO use direct email, rather than They Work For You, be sure to add your snail mail address and phone number or other preferred means of contact to the email because a caseworker might want to get in touch, plus your MP will only deal with his/her own constituents.

  22. Two points.
    1) I wonder how the Government can predict how many will lose from the move to 20m. I am only recorded as not being able to walk more than 50m. How do they know that there wont be very many more people that will lose out. I live 40m from the closest place I can park my Motability car, so I’m out automatically, and I think their predictions could be low by a factor of 2 or 3.

    2) My MP is Labour (in tooth and claw tradition) though I will certainly write to him (and the person who said write not email is right), What is needed is for each of us to write to as many Conservative MPs as we can (at their constituencies rather than Westminster) – they are the ones who will feel the chill cold air of fear up their ‘seats’; oh and the LibUndems too, as they could still scupper this unfair legislation if they could only grow a collective backbone.

  23. I don’t want to appear insensitive but if you loose your Mobility vehicle could you not just get a Taxi?

    • Also, Curious, if your vehicle is adapted to take your powered wheelchair (as mine is, at vast cost!), you won’t be able to get ordinary mini-cabs. Wheelchair accessible taxis are relatively rare outside London. Plus, if you only get the standard mobility component of PIP, you only have about £21 per week for taxis etc, which is much less than the enhanced rate at £55. Taxis are very expensive, even if they’re accessible to you, so £21 per week won’t get you very far.

      Most wheelchair users can walk, but if they lose the enhanced rate of PIP because they can walk 20m, they won’t be able to travel in any vehicle which can’t take their wheelchair. Powered wheelchairs don’t dismantle like scooters and can’t be lifted into the back of a car as they’re very heavy and bulky.

      I hope this helps answer your question!

    • With what do you pay for the taxi if you don’t get PIP because you can walk more than 20 mtrs but not more than 50? It’s this kind of stupidity that is costing us our benefits.

  24. Curious, people will lose the Motability vehicle because they’ll stop qualifying for the higher (enhanced) rate of Mobility under the new Personal Independence Payment scheme. So there won’t be any money for taxis either.

  25. I posted the following question on twitter and received no response as not certain due to the various changes under the WRB, I would be most grateful if anyone here could please give me a definitive answer, daughter is currently in a Nursing home due to cutbacks.

    Is #DLA mobility still to be withdrawn from Care/Nursing Home residents in 2013 Will those residents be eligible and able to apply for #PIP

    • I believe I’m right in saying that DLA and PIP mobility will no longer be withdrawn from care home residents; that policy was reversed after a campaign spearheaded by Lord Low, who demonstrated that there’s no ‘double funding’ so care home residents still need their own mobility component if they’re to get out and about.

      However, enhanced mobility rate of PIP will not be payable once someone’s been in hospital more than 28 days. If they have a Motability vehicle I think Motability will do all they can to enable them to keep it, but I’m really not sure how this will work out in practice.

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