New car scrappage scheme rejected by ministers

New car scrappage scheme rejected by ministers
Hopes of a new scrappage scheme reportedly offering up to £6,000 towards the cost of an electric car have been dashed now that the government appears to have rejected the idea.

The Times reports that a letter from Rachel Maclean, junior minister for transport and the environment, reads: “the government has no plans at this stage to introduce a scrappage scheme.”

A similar scrappage scheme was dismissed in 2018 as ministers believed it was “difficult to deliver [and] potentially open to abuse.”

At present, the government provides a grant of up to £3,000 only towards the purchase of plug-in cars, although this was cut by £500 in March.

The Department for Transport added that the government is also investing £2.5 billion in ultra-low emissions vehicle grants and funding, helping to provide new electric vehicle charge points.

Ms Maclean took the opportunity to reiterate the government’s commitment to phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 “or sooner.”

The decision to rule out the scheme has been criticised by Dr Steve Melia, a lecturer in transport and planning at the University of the West of England. He described existing incentives for green vehicles as “clearly inadequate.”

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Manufacturers including Ford, Vauxhall and Jaguar Land Rover have highlighted the need for support after a dramatic fall in sales over the past few months.

Recent sales figures show that 22,054 battery electric cars were sold in the first five months of this year – a rise of 132% compared with a year earlier and despite the coronavirus crisis.

Sales of all cars in the UK have halved to 508,125 since the start of the year – electric cars still make up only 4.3% of all new registrations.

The cost of purchasing a battery-powered car is often cited as a barrier to the vehicles becoming popular. Some electric models are up to £10,000 more expensive than their combustion engine alternatives.  

Fears are rising that plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel models by 2035 could fail.

Electric vehicle scrappage schemes have already been launched in Germany, while similar incentives in France have helped sales recover to almost normal levels.

Would a £6,000 discount on the cost of a new electric car be enough to encourage you to go green? Has the government missed a vital opportunity on its path to hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2050?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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