Taxpayer-funded car firm for the disabled 'stockpiled £2.4 billion'

A company which provides cars for disabled people has stockpiled £2.4 billion of taxpayers' money and pays its chief executive £1.7 million a year, it has been reported.

Motability, a charitable scheme which offers cars to wheelchair users in exchange for part of their government-funded mobility allowance, ran up the cash "surplus" over a number of years, according to the Daily Mail.

The paper says an investigation also found its chief executive Mike Betts earned 11 times as much as the Prime Minister in 2017, thanks to bonuses, incentives and pension payments.

MPs have called for the matter to be looked into further.

John Mann, a Labour member of the Commons Treasury committee, said the reported findings were "outrageous", and told the paper: "This money should immediately be returned to the Treasury and used to help the disabled. I shall be tabling an urgent question in the House of Commons."

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Tory MP Nigel Mills, who sits on the Commons public accounts committee, criticised the company arm for "hoarding" what is "effectively public money", saying it was "completely unjustified" that a charitable service for the disabled could have so much surplus.

He told the Mail: "They could charge disabled people less for cars. Paying the directors hefty wages 11 times what the Prime Minister gets is outrageous."

And Labour peer Lord Rooker said he had never come across such salaries in "what is supposedly a charity scheme", adding: "There is something not right about all this. The Charity Commission needs to look into it."

According to the Mail, Motability said in a statement that it had taken on responsibility for the value of used cars, and that changes to motor insurance between 2013 and 2016 had also increased its risks, with cyber security another factor.

Declan O'Mahony, director of the Motability charity, told the paper the surplus was "appropriate and proportionate".