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Top-of-the-range cars requiring advance payments of more than £2,000 are to be ditched by disability charity Motability.The move, announced by Motability chairman Lord Sterling, will see the number of car models offered in the charity's price guide slashed by more than half.

The charity is also tightening the rules over nominated drivers and pushing forward plans to increase its ability to investigate and act on allegations of abuse.

In a statement, Lord Sterling said that despite meeting the mobility needs of disabled people for over 33 years, it was very important for Motability not to be complacent. It had to continuously strive for excellence by examining and refining all aspects of the Motability Scheme.

Lord Sterling said, “Although we know that 30% of our customers take cars with no advance payment and only 5% take cars with an advance payment of more than £2,000, over 50% of the models currently listed in the price guide have advance payments above this level.“We have therefore decided to rationalise the range of cars available through the Scheme by offering only cars with an advance payment of £2,000 or less, approximating to a recommended retail price limit of circa £25,000. These changes will be fully implemented in December 2011.”

Lord Sterling, however, emphasised customers whose disability-related needs required a car above this level would still be accommodated.

He went on, “With regards to how the car may be used and by whom, the principle of the Scheme remains as it always has been - that cars must be used for the benefit of the disabled person. However, we have identified a need to refine our processes and communications around this principle, with clearer parameters so that customers can use the car appropriately and with confidence.

“In particular, we will now only accept nominated drivers who live within 5 miles of the customer in order to minimise the risk of the car being used other than for the benefit of the disabled person.”

Lord Sterling said the charity would invest further in its capacity to investigate and act on allegations of abuse, and would pilot new vehicle technologies to monitor how cars were used where Motability perceived the greatest risk of abuse. He added, “Like any organisation with close to 600,000 customers, there are a small minority of customers who will try to abuse the Scheme. Motability works with a range of partners, including for example motor dealers, the DVLA and the Police, to ensure that effective procedures are in place to protect the Scheme and to ensure that we respond effectively to all allegations of Scheme misuse.

“During our last financial year, a number of steps were taken to further improve liaison with the Police, including a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).“Over this period, we dealt with 7,144 allegations relating to fraud or abuse of the Scheme. These included cases of uninsured driving, unauthorised use of Scheme cars, drink-driving and even criminal activity, many of which led to prosecution by the Police.

“Enforcement action was taken by Motability in 2,139 cases, including 829 customers who had their agreements terminated and their cars withdrawn. In addition, 486 applicants were suspended or permanently excluded from the Scheme. We will continue to invest in this activity to protect the reputation of the Scheme and of the vast majority of our disabled customers.”

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Ambergreen in the following categories: Motoring, Business & Finance, Transport & Logistics, for more information visit