Title: Everything You Need to Know About Motability

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Summary: Since being founded in 1978, Motability has helped millions of people in the UK to get access to life changing vehicles. If you think you might be eligible to receive the benefits of Motability, but don’t know the full ins and outs of the scheme, we’re here to help

Meta Title: Everything You Need to Know About Motability

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors break down everything you need to know about the Motability scheme, including eligibility, vehicles available, and pricing.

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Motability 3

Since being founded in 1978, Motability has helped millions of people in the UK to get access to life changing vehicles. It’s estimated that over 640,000 people of all ages and backgrounds benefit from the scheme, which allows those with disabilities to affordably drive the vehicles that are right for them.

If you think you might be eligible to receive the benefits of Motability, but don’t know the full ins and outs of the scheme, we’re here to help. With our full guide to Motability, we’ve put together all the information you could need to know before deciding whether to look into the scheme. With eligibility, pricing, and the benefits of the scheme all covered, we’ve provided a full introduction to Motability.

What is Motability?

Motability is a scheme that helps disabled people to lease brand new cars, scooters, and wheelchairs by using their government-funded mobility allowance. If a person receives a regular government mobility allowance, they can exchange all or some of this to fund a lease car. When a person leases a car under Motability, they may also be able to receive Motability adaptations. These adaptations are designed to make it easier for those with specific needs to drive, and can be simply installed into most cars when needed.

What are the benefits of Motability?

The Motability scheme presents a number of benefits for disabled people. Members of the Motability scheme can get:

  • A new lease vehicle every 3 years
  • Insurance, maintenance and servicing readily organised, and carried out free of charge.
  • Full breakdown assistance included in all lease packages.
  • Replacement tyres and windscreens when needed.
  • Vehicle tax readily paid and arranged.

If you need vehicle adaptations – such as steering wheel alterations, pedal rearrangements, and wheelchair lifts – you may be able to receive these free of charge. However, not all adaptations are free, so you should always ask your dealership about the potential extra costs of any extras you might need.

Who is eligible for Motability?

Eligibility for Motability depends on a number of factors. As mentioned, the main prerequisite is that all applicants must receive some form of government funded disability allowance. At the moment, these allowances are:

Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)

Only those in receipt of the highest amount of the Disability Living Allowance are eligible to be considered for Motability. As of April 2015, this amount is currently £57.45.

Enhanced Rate of Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)                       

Personal Independence Payment was introduced by the Government to replace Disability Living Allowance for people of working age.  This has seen many new recipients of the benefit with different qualifying criteria and assessments are currently taking place across the country.  If you receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP, currently, £57.45 a week, then you may be eligible to receive Motability.

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

AFIP was introduced in 2012, to compensate veterans of the British Army injured as a result of active service. The mobility component of AFIP is currently £57.45, the same as DLA and PIP, and if you’re in receipt of this you may be eligible for Motability.

War Pensioners Mobility Supplement

This is an allowance paid by Veterans UK to those injured in active service, and is currently £64.15 a week. Those who receive this mobility supplement are able to apply for Motability.

Applicants must have at least 12 months left of any allowance to be eligible to join the Motability scheme. There is no upper age limit for drivers on the scheme; as long as drivers are the legal 17 or above, they’re eligible to join.

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How much does a Motability car cost?

A large range of vehicles are available through the Motability scheme, all paid for by exchanging all or part of your disability living allowance.

Around 200 Motability cars are currently available at a lower cost than any of the above allowances, and many more can be accessed by exchanging the entirety of your allowance. If the cost is lower than the whole of the disability payment, they will still be regularly paid the remainder of the allowance.

A wider choice of vehicles is available if you decide to pay an advance payment. This is a one off payment given at the beginning of a lease period, in addition to the payments supported by your mobility allowance. This payment is payable on the day you collect your car, or the day before.

Who can drive a Motability car?

Two named drivers are allowed to be added when leasing a Motability vehicle; this can include the disabled person themselves, family members, carers, or friends. This means that you don’t necessarily need to be able to drive or hold a driving license to join Motability, as the both named driver positions can be taken up by others. Nominated drivers must be named when taking out a lease on a vehicle, and will need to provide certain information about themselves. A third driver can also be added if necessary, but this comes at an additional cost.

Certain restrictions apply to nominated drivers, listed below.

  • Only one nominated driver is permitted to be under 21, providing they live at the same address as the customer.
  • Drivers under 25 will be restricted to driving vehicles that fall within lower insurance groups.
  • Nominated drivers should live within 5 miles of the Motability scheme member’s address. However, exceptions will be considered in cases where the proposed drivers are essential to the support of the customer’s mobility and Motability are satisfied that the car will be used for the customers benefit.
  • Drivers with certain criminal convictions or driving disqualifications may not be permitted to be nominated.

If needed, your nominated drivers can be changed part of the way through a lease period; this needs to be done through contact with RSA Motability. A temporary nominated driver can also be added if and when necessary, for a period of 30 days at a time. However, if the temporary driver is the third driver added to the lease, this will come at a cost.

How do I get a Motability car?

Once you’ve worked out whether you’re eligible for Motability, you can get started looking for a vehicle. Motability vehicles from a range of manufacturers can be leased from Bristol Street Motors dealerships up and down the UK, with all of these having at least one member of staff trained to deal with Motability queries.

Getting a new Motability vehicle involves a few easy steps:

  • Before heading to a Bristol Street Motors dealership, it’s always a good idea to ring ahead or get in touch beforehand, and book an appointment with the Motability specialist. This way, you can be certain that there will be someone there who can fully handle your queries when you visit.
  • When you come see one of our Motability specialists, they should be able to let you know exactly what’s available to you on the scheme. Simply tell them a little about yourself, such as any specific needs you might have, how much you’re able to spend, and who will be driving the car. It is important to bring along your award notice or letter of entitlement confirming your allowance and length of award, proof of address (a utility bill addressed to the customer dates within the last three months), driving licences of all those to drive the car and the Dealer Guidelines letter if you have been awarded a grant.
  • Once we know what you’re looking for, and what you need, we’ll be able to suggest the options that are best for you. We’ll also be able to tell you about any adaptations we think would be suitable for you.
  • Once you’ve decided on the Motability car that you think is right for you, we’ll order it in for you, complete with any adaptations. Delivery can take up to a few weeks, and we’ll keep in touch to let you know of the progress. In the meantime, you’ll be given a Personal Identification Number – keep hold of this.
  • Once your car arrives we will arrange a convenient time for you to come in to the dealership On collecting the car you will be required to enter your PIN as an electronic signature and acceptance of the contract hire agreement.
  • Then, our Motability specialist will check over the car with you explaining controls, features and equipment.

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Is Motability right for me?

If you have a disability and receive some form of mobility allowance – or care for someone who does – you may want to consider Motability. To help you make a decision, here’s a summary of how to get Motability, and what it can do for you.

  • If you receive some form of government funded mobility allowance, you might be able to get a Motability car.
  • Cars on the Motability scheme can be leased for 3 years, and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles can be leased for 5 years.
  • Over 2000 vehicles are available on the scheme, from all major manufacturers.
  • You may be able to receive vehicle adaptations to help driving easier and more comfortable; some of these come free of charge.
  • You don’t need to drive to get a Motability car, as you’ll simply need to name someone who can drive for you.
  • You can join Motability as a carer on behalf of another person, so long as this person is above 3 years of age.

If the above sounds like something you’d be eligible for, or interested in, then Motability might be right for you. To find out what the Motability scheme can do for you, why not get in touch with a Bristol Street Motors dealership near you. Or, why not just take a look at the Motability vehicles we have available online right now.

Author: Tom

Title: What the 2015 Summer Budget Means for Drivers

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Summary: Earlier in July, George Osbourne delivered his seventh Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the first for a majority Conservative government since November 1996. As always, there were several announcements that will affect drivers and car owners in the UK.

Meta Title: What the 2015 Summer Budget Means for Drivers

Meta Description: For a breakdown of changes in Vehicle Excise Duty, fuel duty, and how the Summer Budget 2015 will affect Britain's drivers, read our blog post.

Article:

Summer Budget - BSM Blog

Earlier in July, George Osbourne delivered his seventh Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the first for a majority Conservative government since November 1996. As always, there were several announcements that will affect drivers and car owners in the UK.

So, to keep you in the loop of what the new announcements means for your bank account, we’ve taken a look into the 2015 budget’s main implications for drivers, from fuel duty to MOT’s.

Fuel Duty

The first piece of news for drivers is that fuel duty won’t rise this year and the current rate of 57.95 pence-per-litre will remain frozen. Since 2011, fuel duty has not increased due to Labour’s fuel duty escalator being scrapped.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

From 2017, a range of sweeping changes to the VED system will come into effect, which is mainly due to the rising number of new low emission vehicles on UK roads.

All new cars will be taxed against three VED bands, which are zero, standard, and premium. Taxation will be calculated on a combination of emissions and the vehicle’s list price. However, the changes will not impact existing cars on the road, and will only affect new drivers.

There will be a flat standard rate of £140 for all new cars, but vehicles emitting zero CO2 won’t have to pay anything. Cars costing more than £40,000 will be subject to an extra £310 per year or £450 in total for the first five years, which includes the flat standard rate.

Improving and maintaining Britain’s roads

For the first time since the 1930s, VED will be used exclusively for improving and maintaining Britain’s roads. Currently, a mix of general and local taxation pays for repairs and upgrades, whereas VED has simply been a general taxation on car ownership. A “Road Fund” was started in 1920, but returned a surplus each year and was wound up in 1937.

Seeing as the World Economic Forum recently said that Britain’s roads were of a similar condition to those in Namibia and Puerto Rico, the decision doesn’t come without a decent premise. As such, the Chancellor has decided “every penny of VED paid by the population’s cars will now be used to improve the roads that people drive on.” So if you’ve been complaining about those potholes at the end of your road, expect them to be (finally) filled in sometime soon.

MoT

The Chancellor also said that the Government would consult on extending the period for new cars and motorbikes to have their first MoT from three to four years.

Even though new car buyers will end up paying more in 2017 under VED changes, the Government claims that a change to four years for MoTs could save motorists a combined £100 million a year.

However, this proposal is bound to raise numerous questions, as around 20 per cent of cars currently fail their first MoT. However, any change will be subject to a public consultation and cost-benefit evaluation, and as no time-scale on either of these put in place, don’t expect any real changes any time soon.

March Budget details

In case you missed the March Budget too, here are some other points the Chancellor made:

– Driverless technology – The Government pledged £100 million of funding to keep Britain at the forefront of driverless car technology, which could start being tested on public roads as early as summer 2015.

– Classic cars – The rolling exemption for historic vehicles will continue. So, next year classic cars made before 1976 will be exempt from road tax.

So, to sum up, the budget 2015 could both end up saving you money, costing you money, and could even finally get those pesky tyre damaging potholes cleared up. For any future announcements in the budget, and for more car related news, make sure to keep checking out the Bristol Street Motors blog.

Author: Tom

Title: A Conversation with John Harris

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Summary: Paralympian, fundraiser, and mountaineer; it’s safe to say that John Harris has led a pretty eventful life. With this in mind, Bristol Street Versa got in touch with John to talk about gold medals, raising awareness of disabled people in sport, and what he thinks of today’s up and coming athletes.

Meta Title: A Conversation with John Harris

Meta Description: Wheelchair athlete John Harris talks to Bristol Street Versa aboutlife changing accidents, the Paralympics, and what it feels like to win a gold medal.

Article:

 

John Harris

Paralympian, fundraiser, and mountaineer; it’s safe to say that John Harris has led a pretty eventful life. With this in mind, Bristol Street Versa got in touch with John to talk about gold medals, raising awareness of disabled people in sport, and what he thinks of today’s up and coming athletes. Take a look at our conversation with the pioneer of disability sport below.

“I was born in a little village in south Wales called Pantygasseg. There were about 50 houses, 1 school, 1 pub, 2 shops and about 3 buses a day –really small– but it was a fantastic place to grow up. Even as a kid sport was a massive thing for me.

When I was growing up, I played anything and everything – boxing, gymnastics, rugby, football – I was just like most boys.
By the time I was 15, I left school and went to work in a steelworks as a crane driver. I had a great time there! When I think about how tough kids have it today, I realise how much of a dawdle it was. My mother didn’t have to worry about any of the problems parents do today.

Then when I was 18, I was at holiday in Butlins. I was on a big wheel with a mate of mine, and I decided to try and scare him. So I started shaking it. I wasn’t being sensible.

All of a sudden, the safety bars came out of my hands and out I went. I fell about 40ft from the very top, and landed on my back with one arm behind me on a brick wall. It was a hell of an impact. My back was shattered, my arm was broken, and all my veins had collapsed. I thought I was going to die.

I was flown to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where I spent the next 6 months of my life. The hospital informed my mother I’d been in an accident by letter. She came all the way to see me and the first thing she asked the staff there was “will my son live”. She was told “we don’t know.

During those 6 months I felt absolutely dire most times. If someone would have offered me a tablet to end it all, I’d have taken it. I was either in bed or a wheelchair. When you’re in a state like that, you come to think about a number of things – mortality for one. But two main things dawned on me. One, I thought I was no longer a threat. And two, I thought no woman would ever find me attractive again. I’d always been able to hold my own, but now I was just some bloke in a wheelchair.

When you’re rehabilitated, they send you on your way just like that. After I was released, I just turned into a drunk. Drinking was all I did for a few years. I didn’t exercise at all. At Stoke Mandeville, we did things like archery and table tennis, but this was more as rehab, and they weren’t really for me. At the time, I thought these were the only sports you could do if you were disabled; I didn’t’ have a clue.

I only got back into sport after a mate of mine invited me to a local gym. I had to pluck up a lot of courage, but eventually I went. I went for a few weeks and started to get into weightlifting. A guy at the gym, Bryan Taylor, and he’d come up to me while I was lifting and say “you’re doing that exercise wrong”. He invited me to train with him and a bunch of other bodybuilders, and show me the proper techniques. My life changed after that. I stopped smoking and drinking my days away, and got fit.

Shortly after, I was asked to join a paraplegic sports club down in Cardiff, which is where I first got into discus. I started training, and eventually got to compete in the Stoke Mandeville national games in about 1973. I came 2nd or 3rd – I can’t remember which – but someone must have taken notice of me, because I was invited to start training with the G.B squad. I started training with them, but it took until 1978 for me to be selected to compete. I went to the Super Challenge in Canada, and ended up coming 49th out of a total of 50. I thought I was a nobody.

Despite myself, somebody must have seen something in me, because when the 1980 Paralympic games came I round I was selected to compete. I came 6th in discus, but ended up breaking the British record at the time. But a mate of mine ended up winning silver medal in Javelin – this just made me determined to get a medal!

I spend the next 4 years training with that medal in mind. I trained and trained and trained, and then in the 1984 Paralympics, I won my first medal – gold. Without a shadow of a doubt, I wouldn’t be here talking to you if I hadn’t won that gold medal.
Winning gold just spurred me on, and in 1988 in Seoul I ended up winning a silver in Discus, and a bronze in the Pentathlon. I competed for another 8 years, but in 1992 and 1996 I didn’t win any medals. I think I was probably past my peak a little by then, but sport was so important to me I couldn’t give it up.

My career hasn’t just been about competition though. In 2013 I climbed Kilimanjaro – that was intense. And in 1987, me and my mate Chris Hallam wheeled around Wales to raise money to build a sports centre for the disabled. We did 400 miles in 11 days. Then in 1997, we did a further push of 600 miles in 3 days – 18 miles a day, every day. In my opinion, Chris had to be one of the greatest there’s been. For me he was a true pioneer of disabled sport – he held every record from 200m right through to the marathons.

I guess that people like myself and Chris paved the way for today’s athletes. When we first started out, we couldn’t have been more dedicated. I always say there can’t have been an able bodied athlete around that wanted it more than me. I don’t think that today’s athletes are any better than my generation; the main difference is the equipment. When I started out, you had to throw or race from your standard day to day wheelchair. Compared to today’s chairs, the weight difference is phenomenal. I think if some of the top boys from back in the day were competing with today’s equipment, they’d have been unreal.

The public’s perception of disability sport has definitely changed since I was in competition. The funding for disabled athletes has changed too. Today they can get lottery funding and sponsorship, which is the way it should be. When I was competing, I had to work full time to afford to be an athlete. The most money I ever got from competing was £250 for coming 3rd place in the Great North Run.

Compared to when I started, the kudos and credibility that disabled sport has is incredible. But I don’t think disabled sportspeople will ever be in the same position as non-disabled athletes. Disabled people just don’t get the same amount of competition; they don’t have the same kind of “bread and butter” year round competitions to take part in. The media exposure isn’t the same either, some countries just aren’t that bothered. Take the USA for example; even for big competitions, there’s far less coverage UK.

I guess that everything i’ve done – the jobs I’ve had, the people I’ve met, even my fitness today– has been as a result of that gold medal. If I hadn’t have won that, my life would have gone down a completely different route. At 70 I still go to the gym 3 times a week, sometimes with my 22 year old son. The other week we did 1000 reps! He’s just as sports mad as me – he’s done a sports degree and he’s going to go back and do a masters. The Olympic gold medal was my dream really – it took me 11 years of training and competing to get it, but it was worth every second. The Olympic gold medal is the most important sporting moment of my life”

Author: Tom