Labour set to pledge interest-free loans to buy electric cars

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Shadow business minister Ed Miliband will lay out Labour’s plans for an electric vehicle “revolution” for the UK.

Under the new policies, Labour is pledging to introduce interest-free loans for those on low and middle incomes to buy electric cars, as well as a national scrappage scheme.

It comes just a week after the government elected to cut the plug-in car grant from £3,000 to £2,500 for vehicles under £35,000.

It said that this would help the money reach more people on lower incomes.

On average, electric cars are 15 – 20 per cent more expensive than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts.

In addition, Miliband will propose that the building of three new “gigafactories” by 2025 to make batteries for electric cars.

At the moment, there is only one such project underway in the UK, at Blyth in Northumberland. Experts at the Faraday Institute think that the country will need eight such plants by 2040.

Labour said that government would only need to put in £1.5bn of public investment over the rest of this Parliament to achieve the target.

Developing a battery supply chain could be vital for the UK, with Britain-made cars only set to qualify for tariff-free trade with the EU from 2026 if batteries are imported.

Finally, Miliband will call on the government to accelerate the rollout of car charging infrastructure across places like Yorkshire, the north west, and the midlands, which have as yet seen less investment.

Miliband said: “To back the car industry and create jobs, Labour would bring forward ambitious proposals to spark an electric vehicle revolution in every part of the country.

“By extending the option to buy an electric car to those on lower incomes and accelerating the roll-out of charging points in regions that have been left out, we would ensure that everyone could benefit – rather than bake in unfairness.

“And we would invest in securing the industry’s future. While it’s right that government has said the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end, it’s wrong it is imposing a massive transition on our manufacturers from Whitehall then washing its hands of responsibility.

“It’s not fair, it will damage our manufacturers, and it will mean losing out on the chance to be the world-leader in the electric vehicle market. Labour would back our manufacturers and the communities with proud histories in the industry, but the Government is asleep at the wheel.”

The proposals will form part of a speech on how Labour would effect a green economic recovery in the UK post Covid-19.

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