Number of disabled motorists falls 80,000 in two years

1.26 million now receive a disability exemption from vehicle tax, compared to 1.35 million in 2015

Citroen Berlingo 2016 - front tracking

The number of disabled motorists has fallen by nearly 80,000 in two years. Figures show a 6 per cent drop in disabled people receiving an exemption from vehicle tax since 2015, with 1.267 million people now registered.

While there is no evidence that any one cause is behind the drop, the figures prompted fresh criticism of Government reforms to disability benefits. The data, from the Motability charity, echo other statistics that show a fall in people being eligible to claim personal independence payments (PIP). 59,000 disabled motorists have lost their eligibility for an adapted vehicle since the switch from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP in 2013.

Figures released after a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Peter Dowd show 1,266,523 disabled people received an exemption from vehicle tax as of February this year, compared to 1,345,446 in February 2015. People can claim the exemption if they receive the higher rate of the mobility component of either PIP or DLA, or specific benefits for injured armed forces veterans.

Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "[PIP] has resulted in thousands of people losing their social security support, with many having their Motability cars removed before their appeals. This has forced many disabled drivers off the road and unable to work, or live full and independent lives.”

• Best cars for Motability 2017

A Government spokeswoman said: "Under PIP 28% of people are now receiving the highest rate of support compared to 15% under DLA, and there are now more people on the Motability scheme than before PIP was introduced."

Auto Express previously revealed that 51,000 disabled drivers had had their car taken away by authorities since PIP was introduced in 2013. The number of people eligible for the Motability scheme has halved from 254,200 to 127,900 since the launch of the PIP system, which has different standards to determine eligibility.

MPs and campaigners demanded changes to the Motability programme so that vehicles aren’t taken away before owners have the chance to at least appeal the decision.

Of the 51,000 repossessions, Motability has had to overturn more than 3,000 who have successfully appealed. The Department for Work and Pensions has said that only a fraction of PIP decisions are overturned, and those who are taken off Motability are eligible for £2,000 of financial support. 

Most economical cars

Conservative MP Peter Bone, one of the campaigners for fairer disabled rights said: “You need it for mobility purposes and maybe you use it for work, but because you lose your PIP award you lose the car at the same time. 

"You appeal against the PIP decision and ultimately the tribunal awards you back the PIP, but you've already lost the car and maybe your job because of it."

Have you had your Motability car taken away? Tell us about it in the comments section below...

Recommended

UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap
Motorway
News

UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap

The Government’s plan to plug the £30bn gap in lost fuel duty is taking shape with bans on petrol and diesel car and trucks looming
13 Jul 2021
Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving
Tired driver
News

Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving

Research produces worrying revelation that four million UK motorists have nodded off behind the wheel at some point
16 Jun 2021
Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained
Joe Finnerty in Hyper G sled
Consumer news

Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained

Thatcham studies crashes, rates alarms and sets insurance groups to help cut drivers’ costs. We find out how
11 May 2021
Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know
Executive saloons make popular company cars
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know

Company car tax is bound up in a complex net of emissions, salaries and a car's value; we explain how the system looks for the 2021/22 Financial Year
27 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Best electric cars to buy 2021
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2021

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
7 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021