Government cuts to grants for green cars is putting the UK in the slow lane in the drive to alternatively fuelled vehicles, Unite warned today (July 4), as car registration figures showed demand has fallen for the first month in two years.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 13,314 alternatively fuelled cars were registered in the UK last month, down 11.8 per cent on the 15,099 registered during June 2018.
The SMMT said the decline was driven by a reduction in sales of hybrid cars.
It is the first time the alternatively fuelled car sector has seen negative growth since April 2017. Government grants for new low-emission cars were slashed in October last year, meaning hybrid models are no longer eligible for the scheme.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “It is no coincidence that new registrations for alternatively powered cars have gone into reverse after the government’s failure to invest in the necessary infrastructure and the short sighted decision to slash green grants and scrap them for hybrid cars.
“After demonising diesel and setting targets to ban future sales of petrol and diesel cars, ministers should be stepping up investment in electric charging infrastructure, using public procurement to support a ‘just transition’ towards a greener economy and doing more to assist the industry and consumers in the drive to alternatively powered cars,” Turner added.
“Instead the UK is the slow lane behind other countries such as France and Germany when it comes to purchasing support and charging infrastructure, as well as investment in battery technology, manufacturing and recycling.
“UK car makers are facing a perfect storm of global and technological challenges while grappling with continued Brexit uncertainty. These latest car registrations should be a wake-up call to the two Tory leadership contenders currently engaged in a no-deal Brexit bidding war,” he went on to say.
“Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt need to wake up to the harm that a no-deal Brexit will have on people’s livelihoods and futures. They need to take no-deal off the table and commit to securing a customs union with the European Union which guarantees the frictionless trade and tariff free access that is central to the success of the UK car industry and wider manufacturing.”