Motability responds to claims it possesses £2.4 billion of taxpayers' money

Disabled parking spaces at a Sainsburys store in London.

Motability has responded to a Daily Mail investigation that claimed that it had £2.4 billion of taxpayers' money in reserve, and that its chief executive Mike Betts earns £1.7 million of taxpayer money every year.

The Daily Mail claimed that Betts earned 11 times more money than Prime Minister Theresa May (£142,500) last year. Most of this cash, the paper reports, came from various incentives and bonuses.

In addition, it was claimed that Motability has £2.4 billion of taxpayer money stockpiled from their annual budgets. According to the investigation, roughly £2 billion per year is provided by the government, of which, an average of £200 million a year goes unspent.

This afternoon (Tuesday), Motability published a lengthy statement regarding the claims by the Daily Mail:

"Motability Operations Group is not a charity and does not come under the Charity Commission's jurisdiction as charity law regulator. The company provides a commercial service to the charity Motability, which in turn oversees the Motability Scheme. As many people have stated the Motability scheme provides an absolutely vital and important service to thousands of people across the UK.

"The Charity Commission is aware of the issues reported in the media today and indeed recently undertook a detailed review of the charity's financial accounts and of its relationship with the non-charitable company Motability Operations. That review did not identify regulatory concerns about the charity's governance or its relationship with the commercial company. It is not for the Commission to comment on the pay of the CEO of a large non charitable commercial company. However, we have made clear to the trustees of the charity Motability that the pay of the CEO of its commercial partner Motability Operations may be considered excessive and may raise reputational issues for the charity. These reputational issues are for the trustees to manage.

"We also made clear, following the conclusion of our review last year, that we consider the level of operating capital held by the company in order to guarantee the scheme to be conservative, and agreed with the charity, as part of its oversight of the scheme, that it would ensure this this matter is kept under continuous review.

"There is no further role for the Commission as regulator at this time."

SEE ALSO: Thousands lose Motability allowance under new scheme

SEE ALSO: Disability benefit changes 'compromising people's independence'

As the story broke, MP's called for further action to be taken. This included Conservative MP Nigel Mills, who criticised the firm heavily while talking to the Daily Mail: "No charity arm should be hoarding that kind of money. It is effectively public money, and it is completely unjustified that a charitable service for the disabled – with a guaranteed income from benefits claimants – has got so much surplus.

"Fundamentally, if the service is not costing that much, then they should not be charging that much. They could charge disabled people less for cars. Paying the directors hefty wages 11 times what the Prime Minister gets is outrageous."

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