I think it may help if I give some insight into how the scheme actually works. To qualify for a Motability car you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate component of Disability Living Allowance currently £51 per week. You can opt to give up this allowance and have it paid directly to Motability to lease a car instead. If the £51 per week does not cover the lease of the car then Motability charge you a one off up front charge which covers the difference. This is the Advance Payment they are referring to.
When I ordered my G C-Max the Advance Payment was around £1500. Now it has obviously gone above that as it has disappeared of the list (I ordered mine in March). Also, at the time I ordered it the only automatic available was the 2.0l diesel. From there if you wanted to add extras to the car then you pay for them yourself too. This benefits Motability since, when the car comes back after 3 years they have a higher spec car to sell which goes back to Motability (which is a charity).
So the lease amount remains the same regardless of the car ordered. The only difference is the better the car the more the customer pays in cash and they get no return at the end of the lease. I can't remember the exact figures but I know that there were Advance Payments of £15,000 or more on some of the cars! This is why it was totally wrong for the Mail to suggest that there were people getting "£35,000 cars for free". (Not that I think it was right these cars were available in the first place)
Motability being a charity don't pay VAT and with 600,000 cars on the road they have a lot of clout with the manufacturers so they get a high discount. End of the lease the car goes back and Motability sell them and tend to get a good price for them as they are well maintained cars. All proceeds from the sale go to Motability obviously as they own the cars.
So what's the scam/abuse? The car is for the use of the disabled person. Some cannot drive so they have nominated drivers (this is where the changes to the nominated drivers is causing problems where their carers live more than 5 miles away). What they are trying to stop is the cases where the disabled person being "persuaded" to give up their mobility component of Disability Living Allowance and using it to purchase a vehicle which is then used exclusively by able bodied family members - I don't think it will work. I keep seeing a Range Rover at our local shopping mall which is always occupied by a well to do lady and her 3 children when she picks them up from their private school. It is a Motability Car (the signs are there). A disabled person would be pushed to get into this car and, the other big advantage, the Road Tax is Nil - Disabled (and Yes - Big Budgie, she also tosses the Blue Badge on the dash and parks in the disabled bays as her car is too big to fit elsewhere). It would have cost them a big up front payment but Motability do the servicing and cover the insurance plus Nil Road Tax. With the change to the nominated driver rule, if she doesn't live within 5 miles of the disabled person who ordered this beast then she has to move house! Or buy her own car.
This is a pretty bad abuse of the system but it is the minority. Out of 600,000 users it was just over 1,200 I think that were found guilty of various abuses.
The other scam of course is the individuals who shouldn't have Higher
Rate Disability Living Allowance but that is down to the fact they were
not all medically examined by the DWP doctors - nothing to do with
Motability - No Higher Rate DLA = No Car.
The vast majority of us just look for cars to help with our disability. As I have said previously I have spinal injuries (and pretty dodgy legs too!) and had risky surgery which with hard work allowed me to walk again (after a fashion). Had I not had the surgery I would be in a wheelchair by now. Due to the surgery I need a car that is the right level for me to slide in and out of the car which rules out a lot of the cars (I'd never be able to get out of them again). The other problem is you need boot space to cart walking frames etc around with you. Also because of my spinal problems I look for something that has a smooth ride and a lot of airbags (this was caused by being thumped twice by a 40 ton artic at 70 mph so I am very particular about safety features!). Another disabled friend who has a Mondeo Estate Automatic (he uses a wheelchair when he tires) for the boot space but won't be able to get a Mondeo when his change comes up, but he could if he was capable of driving a manual. I would also be able to get the same car if DVLA would allow me to drive a manual again (which they won't).
By the way Big Budgie, agree 100% on the Blue Badge situation. You can't even politely point out to them that they are depriving a genuinely disabled person of a space as you are met with a torrent of abuse. Some people I know have even been physically threatened. Only way to sort this one out is to bring in really penal fines and enforce them. You should try an airport terminal in a wheelchair - you become invisible [img]smileys/smiley4.gif[/img]
Grand C-Max 2.0 TDCi PowerShift Auto. Panther Black - Titanium. Appearance, Convenience and Family Pack.