01 OCT 2018

Company donates half a billion to charity

A company has donated £500 million to a disability charity following my direct appeal in Parliament. 

Motability, a part-taxpayer funded scheme which provides adapted vehicles to disabled people, faced severe criticism earlier this year. In February a Charity Commission inquiry found it was hoarding £2.4 billion and paying huge salaries to senior staff, including £1.7 million to chief executive Mike Betts.

I argued that with its growing profits, the private firm should make a substantial donation to the associated Motability charity. Addressing Mr Betts directly at a joint select committee hearing in March, I said: "The variables all seem to be up and away every year since 2011. Don't you think you could afford to be a little more generous and give more money to good causes? Don't you think you should be doing a one-off immediate, substantial transfer to the charity so you can help its good charitable works?"

Hugh Radojev from the Civil Society, which supports the charity sector, highlighted that the donation followed this criticism. Motability Operations has now committed to making an initial £400m donation, which it said will be paid out of its profits this year. The company hopes to donate a further £100m to its charity arm next year.

Speaking at Motability's AGM this morning, Lord Sterling thanked Motability Operations for "once again delivering a splendid level of service to disabled people and their families" and said the charity governors "very much appreciate" the £400m charitable donation. He said the amount was "considerably higher than the charity was initially expecting".

It's very welcome to see that Motability have listened to our serious concerns and stumped up more cash for good causes. People were understandably angry that so much money was being hoarded. This is a big step in the right direction.

The Motability charity was first set up in 1977 by Lord Sterling of Plaistow. The Queen is its chief patron, while Theresa May and a number of former Prime Ministers are among its patrons.

Since it was set up in 1977, the scheme has provided over four and a half million vehicles for disabled people.

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Charlie Elphicke

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