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History and Heritage

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

Before the Motability Scheme was established

In the mid-1970s only 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 and together they established Motability, the Charity, and devised the Motability Scheme. 

As time went on, the Scheme's buying power was such that the value for money for disabled customers improved consistently. 

Motability has proven resilient in the context of successive economic cycles and Government welfare reforms, and has built long-lasting and valued relations with stakeholders across the private, public, and charity sectors. Assisting millions of disabled people and their families to enjoy 'the road to freedom'. 

The same founding principles underpin our current strategy: 

  • Solutions that meet the needs of disabled people;
  • Providing the highest standard of service;
  • The best possible value for money; and
  • Financial sustainability for the long term.