Motability

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley

What assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings in the December 2018 NAO report on the level of profit made by Motability from leasing cars to personal independence payment claimants.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Asking the National Audit Office to investigate was an important step towards ensuring that disabled people are provided with an excellent, value for money service. It is troubling that excessive amounts have been paid out in bonuses and are sitting in reserves. We accept all the NAO recommendations and will be meeting the chairman of Motability this week to discuss how the organisation plans to implement them.

Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley

Does the Minister agree that the great work done by that charity is being undermined by the amount of salary and bonuses that it is paying out? Will she work with it as soon as she possibly can to make sure that that money is used for the benefit of vulnerable people, not the directors of the business?

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend makes a really important point. The Motability scheme is very much valued by disabled people and I want to make sure that all disabled people with mobility concerns can benefit from it, so we will be asking the organisation to use up its reserves and to make sure that it reaches more disabled people to help them play a full part in society.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. The Minister is always most courteous in engaging with the person asking the question, but the rest of the House also wants to hear her, so it would be appreciated if she could look in our direction.

Photo of Paul Sweeney Paul Sweeney Shadow Minister (Scotland)

While Motability has created millions of pounds of profits, I have a constituent, 51 years of age and a former NHS nurse, who sustained a serious injury for which she has required more than 20 operations. After six months on sick pay, she was granted the highest PIP mobility rate as well as employment and support allowance at £73.10 a week. Her PIP was subsequently reduced to the lowest rate of £22 a week, and she lost ESA payment of £37 a week and has been deemed fit to work. She is struggling to buy food and to pay her bills. Her mobile phone was restricted by her provider due to two phone calls to the DWP costing her £47, so she has lost all her money. What will the Minister do to sort out this scandalous situation?

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

The question was an extraordinarily interesting one, and very comprehensive, but it was a classic example of what I call shoehorning. The hon. Gentleman was seeking to shoehorn his issue into a question to which it did not really belong, but the Minister’s dexterity is boundless and I feel sure that she will reply pithily.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Of course, I will meet the hon. Gentleman to go through that case. It is well worth remembering that there are 600,000 people on the mobility scheme, which is many more than there were in 2010 before we had PIP. In fact, 144,000 people have been given enhanced mobility rates, and transitional protection is also available. I will be working with Motability to make sure that more people can benefit from that scheme, but of course we can meet and go through the details of that case.