The Committees today publish Motability’s own corporate governance findings, after a protracted series of correspondence in which the Chairs of both committees repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction and disappointment with Motability Governors’ attitude and approach. In the final letter of the exchange, to the Chair of Motability, the Chairs express their frustration that, had Motability provided the full information requested with its reasoning for keeping one key governance recommendation private, the issue could have been resolved months ago.
Publishing the final version of the review today, with just one redaction remaining for reasons of commercial sensitivity, the Chairs note: “Having now seen the nature of the redacted recommendation …the Committee would have been more than happy not to publish it. It is regrettable that it has taken almost five months for Motability to provide … this information.” Recommendation 42 of the Governance Review (linked in first line above), previously redacted, is now published in full.
Following an inquiry last year into executive pay at Motability and the scheme’s finances and at the request of the Committees, the NAO conducted a review of Motability’s finances which concluded that tax exemptions provided to the Motability Scheme amounted to £888 million in 2017 alone, support that no other private company is able to access. In February this year, following new evidence in Parliament, Work and Pensions Committee Chair Frank Field urged Motability to “Stop making excuses, start channelling all your vast resources into what Motability does best … We are clear, the NAO is clear, the Government is clear: Motability must step up, now, and demonstrate the transparency and accountability befitting an organisation that enjoys huge amounts of taxpayer’s support.” Treasury Committee Chair Nicky Morgan noted at the time, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant. So it's extremely disappointing that Motability is refusing to provide our committees with the evidence that we have requested.”
The Committees have now been provided with the final version of Motability’s Governance review. The outcome of the Government’s promised review of government support provided to Motability is still awaited.
Rt Hon Frank Field, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:
“This much ado over a bit of transparency from an organisation enjoying monopoly status and nearly a billion pounds a year in special tax allowances is deeply unseemly. Last month brought us the baffling spectacle of a DWP minister announcing the charity’s spending decisions to Parliament – as though Motability is sloshing with so much money from tax exemptions and unique access to disabled people’s benefits that they barely know what to do it with it themselves.
“More money for disabled people who desperately need it is great news: cycling vast sums of taxpayers’ money through a company’s coffers is not the way to do it. At the very least a company in receipt of massive taxpayer funding should be positively, proactively transparent. Instead, it’s taken them since February to give the Committees the information we asked for. Motability should be on notice now: up your game and start giving a very different account of yourself.”
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