Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly in a row with other Cabinet members – including transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng – over his proposed plans to cut grants for buying electric vehicles (EV).
As reported by the Telegraph, the Treasury is expected to slash the grants – which amount to £2,500 for electric cars and £1,500 for mopeds – focusing instead on funding EV chargers and bigger vehicles.
The Chancellor’s decision comes ahead of the autumn budget – which will be released on 27 October – and a few weeks before COP26, when world leaders will gather in Glasgow to discuss how to best tackle climate change.
“Three weeks today is meant to be the world leader summit, all eyes in Whitehall are focussed on COP26,” a Whitehall senior official told the Telegraph on Tuesday.
“The only other thing people are talking about is the fuel and gas crisis – so this just seems the most extraordinary move with this in mind. The net zero strategy has to be published next week and we’re still nickel-and-diming at this stage.”
The Telegraph added that Sunak’s potential decision has caused a rift between the Treasury and the transport and business departments. According to sources, Shapps remains unconvinced while Kwarteng is reportedly worried about the implications on consumer demand.
Part of the UK Government’s plan to accelerate the carbon neutral transition, the plug-in grant scheme was launched in January 2011 and initially offered a 25 per cent discount to motorists that wanted to swap their vehicle for a less polluting one. In the following years, the government widened the pool of eligible vehicles – including mopeds and vans – bringing the grant for cars down to 20 per cent.