The Motability Scheme has paid its chief executive more than £1.7m so far in 2018 – a £20,000 increase compared to last year – despite attracting widespread criticism for its remuneration policies, AMP can confirm.
Mike Betts was paid a £564,223 base salary, which increased by £15,000 compared to 2017. Finance director, Matthew Hamilton James, was also paid £183,000 more than he was last year, according to Motability Operations’ annual report.
The report, published this morning, confirms recent rumours that Mr Betts is in line for a handsome bonus this year estimated to top £2m by the end of the calendar year.
Motability Operations, which runs the mobility scooter, powerchair and WAV leasing scheme on behalf of the Motability charity, came under fire from MPs earlier this year for Mr Betts’ take-home and for holding £2.4bn of reserves.
A subsequent investigation was launched by the National Audit Office after a row erupted and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey called for a review into the scheme’s spending and value-for-money.
It was revealed this month that Mr Betts will step down by May 2020 once the recommendations of the NAO review had been implemented.
Despite Mr Betts’ salary increase Motability Operations’ profits dropped from £146m in 2017 to £64m for the year ended 30 September 2018. Revenues also dipped by 2% to just over £4bn.
The Motability group as a whole achieved post-tax profits of £117m, compared to £213m in 2017. In October it made a £400m donation to its charity arm.
Conservative MP, Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, said that Mr Betts’ payout was “beyond appalling” considering the “obscene amount of money he has already been given”.
“This is a man whose income is already more than most people can expect to see in a lifetime. It is beyond appalling to learn that money that could have been used to improve the lives of disabled people will be lining his pockets instead.
“Despite a joint select committee inquiry earlier this year, this is the first time these figures have been out in the open. Motability Operations now has serious questions to answer about the information they provided to Parliament.
“With reserves on this scale, and the cutting of executive rewards long overdue, there is now huge scope to improve the lives of hosts of disabled claimants without asking taxpayers for a penny more. Will the government act now?”
Motability has maintained that its directors are paid based on their performance and insists Mr Betts’ income is justified due to the strong financial position of the group and its customer satisfaction score, which stands at over 94%.
Neil Johnson, chairman for the Motability group, confirmed that the scheme’s reserves, which he insisted are invested in its fleet rather than cash, have risen once again by £60m to £2.5bn.
He said that all profits are being “ploughed back into the scheme to improve product offering”.
“Mike Betts…orchestrated a successful turnaround of the business, before leading it through the successes of the past decade.
“The [board] is clear that the recommendations made by the NAO would benefit from Mike’s experience and skills to see them through. After this, and the appointment of a suitable successor, Mike Betts and the board have agreed that he will step down, not alter than May 2020.”
The Motability group’s report states that the scheme has continued to deliver new initiatives in the last 12 months to improve customer experience.
In January this year Motability refreshed the powerchair and scooter scheme in an initiative to increase the focus through the dealer network on “key drivers of customer satisfaction including provision of a simpler and more streamlined process”.
It also completed the roll-out of a systems platform for powerchair and scooter dealers to cover all in-life repair processes, by reducing the complexity of the administration process so that more time is available to manage the repair and keep end-users informed of progress.