Ministers put the brakes on scrappage scheme for cars
HOPES of a scrappage scheme to jumpstart Britain’s car industry have been dashed by ministers following weeks of speculation.
Proposals to offer motorists up to £6,000 when they swapped their old petrol or diesel car for an electric one were ruled out by the Government in a blow to crisis-hit manufacturers. There was concern that the scheme would fail to help major UK marques such as Jaguar Land Rover because so few electric cars are made in Britain.
In a statement to trade magazine
Auto Express, the Government said: “We have no current plans to change the existing incentives or to introduce a scrappage scheme.
“We are committed to building a greener transport system and reducing carbon emissions to reach our goal of net zero by 2050.”
France, Germany and Spain have all revealed multibillion-euro support packages for their car industries. These include payments to motorists who trade in their vehicles for new, less polluting models.
Britain’s car industry – which last year turned over £82bn and generated 14.4pc of the country’s goods exports – has been battered by coronavirus.
Sales of new cars are down by 51.4pc in the year to date, with just 508,125 new vehicles registered. Production levels have been similarly hard hit, some 41.7pc lower than at the same point a year ago, with just 324,763 cars rolling off UK production lines.
The dire performances cast serious doubts over the future of the 168,000 jobs in the UK directly involved in vehicle manufacturing, as well as the 823,000 in the wide sector in roles such as sales and maintenance.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders last week warned that one in six jobs in the industry were at risk because of the impact of coronavirus.
It sounded the alarm with 6,000 automotive redundancies having been so far announced in June, with many more thought have been made in the supply chain.
The trade body has called for VAT cuts and “policies that boost consumer confidence”, and supports a scrappage scheme.