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History of the Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme delivered its first vehicles to customers in July 1978 and since then over four and a half million cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs have been provided to help disabled people with their mobility needs.  

Find out more about the Motability Scheme

Historical car presentation from 1988, with HM The Queen and man in wheelchair.

Before the Motability Scheme was established

In the mid-1970s only those disabled people who could drive themselves received any government help with transport, usually in the form of a small, blue trike which was unable to take passengers. As a result, many disabled people were housebound for long periods and dependent on others for their mobility.

Introduction of the new Mobility Allowance

The Mobility Allowance was a new cash benefit, introduced by the Government in 1976, to allow recipients to choose the best way of meeting their mobility needs, whether driving a car, using taxis or getting a mobility scooter.

The Mobility Allowance was a positive advance but it soon became clear that it was not enough to buy and run even the smallest car.

So, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Services invited the late Lord Goodman to consider how disabled people could affordably obtain a vehicle using this allowance. He enlisted the help of Lord Sterling (the current Chairman) and together they devised the Motability Scheme.

Motability

Motability was established in 1977, with all-party parliamentary support and incorporated by Royal Charter, by co-founders the late Lord Goodman and Lord Sterling GCVO CBE. The Motability Scheme delivered its first vehicles to customers in July 1978 and, since then, over four and a half million cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs have been provided to help disabled people with their mobility needs.

Motability’s customers have the freedom to get to work or college, meet up with friends, enjoy a day trip out with their families and attend medical appointments, enjoying the independence that so many of us take for granted.

Find out information about what we do and who we help .