Government response 'does nothing' on Motability's pay and reserves policies, committee chair says

Frank Field MP, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, also welcomed a National Audit Office review of the disability car charity

The chair of the Work and Pensions Committee has criticised the government’s response to his committee’s report about Motability’s pay and reserves, saying it failed to address problems at the disability car charity.

Frank Field, the now independent MP for Birkenhead, said the government response to his committee’s report on Motability, which was released in May, "does nothing" to address his and his colleagues’ concerns about pay and policies at the charity.

The Work and Pensions Committee and the Treasury Committee criticised Motability and its connected company, Motability Operations Group, for a "totally unacceptable" executive pay policy after the company’s chief executive received a salary of £1.7m in the year to 30 September 2017, including a long-term incentive scheme payment of almost £727,000.

The company also has reserves of £2.4bn, which the report says is out of proportion to the risk it faces.

The National Audit Office has been invited by Motability to investigate its finances and pay policies.

In a letter to the committee responding to its report, published today, Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, says the questions about Motability’s pay and reserves policies are legitimate, but stops short of calling for changes at the charity.

"Wider questions have been raised about whether the levels of executive remuneration are fair and the reserves justified," the letter says.

"In light of those concerns it is right that the government takes steps to provide clarity where needed. That is why I asked the NAO to look into the Motability scheme, and I am grateful to the committees for supporting this aim and to Motability for agreeing to the value-for-money study."

But in a statement released in response to the letter, Field expressed disappointment in the lack of action from the government and welcomed the NAO’s ongoing analysis of the charity.

"This response does nothing to address the huge concerns both our committees expressed about state support and the levels of pay and cash reserves at Motability," Field said.

"Thank goodness we can trust the NAO to give Motability’s operations a badly needed MOT and make sure it offers as much value to the taxpayer as it offers freedom and independence to disabled people."

A spokeswoman for Motability said: "Although the Motability Scheme is not in direct receipt of public funds, we fully recognise the public interest in our work.

"We have welcomed the review by the National Audit Office because of the standards of integrity, objectivity and independence that always underpin its work.

"Given that the National Audit Office is currently conducting its review, it would not be appropriate to make further comment at this stage, but we will be in a position to discuss these matters further once that review has been completed."

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