Liberal Democrats joined a cross-party group of 40 MPs and members of the House of Lords calling on the Chancellor to bring forward preferential tax rates for company electric cars in his forthcoming Budget. The letter to Philip Hammond comes shortly after the Government scrapped grants for new plug-in hybrids and slashed discounts on other electric vehicles.
As the number of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles on our roads rises, air pollution increases and the risks from problems relating to global warming grow. Liberal Democrats nationwide insist that the Government needs to do much more to combat these threats, now rather than later.
Tax rates on low-emission company cars are set to rise from 13% this year to 16% next year, before being cut to 2% in April 2020. The Lib Dems are calling for the cut to take effect in April 2019. Any further delay risks harming efforts to reduce pollution.
Waiting to ban diesel and petrol cars until 2040 is too late and the Lib Dems are urging the Government to ban sale of new diesel cars and vans by 2025. All major motor manufacturers now build electric and hybrid vehicles and Britain is being left behind by many countries in Europe.
There are over 150,000 electric and low emission vehicles in the UK and 14,000 public charging points across the country. As the number of electric cars increases, then the shortage of charging points is becoming critical. Kent's Liberal Democrats are urging the County Council to lead the way by increasing the number of charging points in their own car parks and offices and by working with district councils to promote the installation of charging points in public car parks and other sites throughout the County.
Lib Dem County Councillor Ian Chittenden commented, "Air pollution is a killer. The Government has to do much more to encourage motorists to switch to cleaner vehicles, sooner rather than later. The Government and local authorities also need to do make far more charging points readily accessible.
"Many countries in Europe are now pressing ahead with ambitious targets to get people switching from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric. So should we."