Discount on buying electric cars could be cut with Cop26 on horizon – Telegraph.co.uk

Electric car grants are set to be slashed under Treasury plans, with Rishi Sunak embroiled in a Cabinet row over the Government’s green agenda just weeks before the Cop26 climate summit.

The Chancellor is currently locked in a battle with the departments for business and transport over proposed cuts to the “plug-in” grants aimed at encouraging motorists to switch from polluting cars. 

With the UK set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, the Government has sought to bolster the green transition by offering grants of up to £2,500 on low-emission vehicles.

But The Telegraph has learned that the Treasury is now pushing to cut the generosity of the discount scheme as it seeks to shift focus on to electric charging infrastructure and other vehicles, such as taxis and vans. 

It also forms part of wider efforts by Mr Sunak to get to grips with the public finances, which have been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, in the run-up to the spending review on October 27

According to multiple sources, the row has pitted the Chancellor against Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, who both oppose the cut. 

There is also mounting concern that the cut, if enacted, risks overshadowing the UK’s environmental drive just days before world leaders are due to gather in Glasgow in November for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

On Tuesday, a senior Whitehall source told The Telegraph: “Three weeks today is meant to be the world leader summit, all eyes in Whitehall are focussed on COP26.

“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.”

It is understood that the Exchequer believes the grants can be reduced without harming the electric vehicles market, which recorded its best ever month for sales in September.

Shapps and Kwarteng unconvinced by proposed reduction 

Treasury ministers also want to place greater focus on electric vehicle charging points and infrastructure, as well as the support available for electric vans, taxis and motorcycles.

There is said to be particular concern that the electric van market is lagging significantly behind consumer vehicles.

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