Rishi Sunak ‘wants to cut subsidies for electric cars under Treasury’s cost-cutting plans’ amid fears the move could undermine the UK’s green credentials ahead of important COP26 summit on climate change
- Rishi Sunak and Treasury said they wanted to make electric car subsidies less generous
- Grants of up to £2,500 currently available to encourage people to buy electric
- Treasury faces opposition from transportation and corporate departments to move
- Fears in Whitehall of cuts in subsidies would send the wrong message ahead of Cop26
Rishi Sunak wants to make government subsidies for electric cars less generous as part of the Treasury’s cost-cutting plans, it was claimed today.
The chancellor would push for the value of the current ‘plug-in’ grant, which is worth up to £2,500 to be reduced.
The grant aims to encourage people to make the switch to electric vehicles by making them more affordable as the government looks ahead to the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
Sunak is reportedly facing cabinet opposition to the move, with Affairs Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and Transport Minister Grant Shapps advocating keeping the support as it is.
There are concerns in Whitehall about the message reducing the value of the grant would send as the UK prepares to host the COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow next month.
Chancellor would push for the value of the current ‘plug-in’ grant, which is worth up to £2,500 to be reduced
The grant aims to encourage people to make the switch to electric vehicles by making them more affordable
The ‘plug-in’ grants have supported the purchase of tens of thousands of low-emission vehicles.
The Treasury believes the subsidy could be made less generous without hurting the green vehicle market, according to The Telegraph.
The department believes that more attention should now be paid to promoting the use of electric vans and other vehicles and improving the electric charging infrastructure.
Cutting subsidies would be one of the measures Mr Sunak is pursuing as he tries to put public finances in order in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Chancellor will submit his fall budget to the House of Commons on October 27.
Some in Whitehall are concerned that an attack on green subsidies could prove counterproductive in the run-up to the COP26 summit.
World leaders will meet in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 to try and work out solutions to climate change.
The government is expected to publish its long-awaited strategy to achieve net zero emissions in the UK by 2050 within weeks.
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph that cutting ‘plug-in’ subsidies during a fuel and gas crisis would be an ‘extremely extraordinary move’.
The source complained about slow progress in publishing the net-zero strategy and accused the government of “nickel-and-dim” at a time when drastic action is needed.