Labour calls on government to help drivers switch to electric cars

James Batchelor


Labour has called for a series of measures to help buyers switch to electric vehicles.

Speaking in London today, shadow business secretary Ed Milliband has said there needs to be an electric 'revolution' to create jobs, boost infrastructure and help people buy an EV. 

Among the measures the ex-Labour leader has called for are interest-free loans to help people on low to middle incomes purchase a new or used electric car, the faster roll-out of on-street charging and investment in battery gigafactories. 

'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,' he said.

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

He added: ‘While it’s right that the 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 it.

​‘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.’

At today's Society of Motor Manufacturers' 'Electrified 2021' conference, the chief of the trade body, Mike Hawes, called on government to stop playing a 'game of snakes and ladders' by yo-yoing between policies aiding and preventing mass electric car adoption. 

Also speaking at the summit was transport secretary Grant Schapps who defended the government's current plan which includes the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. 

Schapps said: 'Delivering zero carbon, as a revolution, and becoming a trailblazer for electric vehicle production and use, isn’t just down to the investment and hard work of the industry alone; we’re in this race together.

'It’s our job in government to lead and manage and ease that transition.'

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