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Motor Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many companies have received payments from the £2.3 billion scheme for the automotive industry; and how many such companies have received monies for low-carbon technology investments. (281195)

[holding answer 19 June 2009]: No loans or loan guarantees have yet been given under the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP). We have now had requests for further information from over 80 companies, seeking a wide range of funding from a few million to several hundred million pounds, resulting in 19 formal expressions of interest which are being pursued at the pace set by the companies. The details of these projects are commercially sensitive and subject to agreement.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make provision for the vehicle scrappage scheme to be open to persons who have taken on the registration of a vehicle over 10 years old which was initially registered in the name of their deceased spouse. (281255)

[holding answer 19 June 2009]: We have given careful consideration to the issue of whether it would be possible to make an exception to this rule in the case of consumers who have taken over the registration of a vehicle which was previously registered to a spouse who has died, but have concluded that this will not be possible.

The rules of the scheme are that the registered keeper of the old and new vehicle must be the same person, and that the old vehicle must have been registered to the keeper continuously for 12 months before the order date of the new vehicle. This rule was put in place for two main reasons. First, the rule seeks to prevent the sorts of abuses that have taken place in other EU countries, for example where individuals bought a very old car for a token sum simply in order to take advantage of scrappage scheme. Secondly, given the need to provide urgent support to the industry it was imperative to launch the scheme quickly and to ensure the scheme was simple and that bureaucracy and costs for all parties were minimised.

It is a regrettable fact that we have had instances of less scrupulous individuals seeking to identify loopholes in the scheme in order to abuse it. It is clear that if we make an exception to the rules of this nature, unscrupulous individuals will seek to exploit what they will see as a loophole. It is also clear that to make an exception of this nature will very significantly add to the administrative burden and complexity of the scheme and require non-experts (dealers) to check facts and documentation which they are not equipped to verify, which in turn would raise further concerns about the capacity for abuse of the scheme. For example, dealers would need to verify whether the person who was the keeper of the car in question has in fact died and whether the car in question has in fact been left to the person proposing to scrap it (as opposed to another relative, friend, charity etc.). This in turn would raise issues in the case of those who had died intestate and of whether or not probate had been obtained, again adding to the complexity of the scheme and the capacity for abuse.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding his Department has disbursed under the Automotive Assistance Scheme since the scheme's inception. (281727)

[holding answer 22 June 2009]: No loans or loan guarantees have yet been given under the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP). We have now had requests for further information from over 80 companies, seeking a wide range of funding from a few million to several hundred million pounds, resulting in 19 formal expressions of interest which are being pursued at the pace set by the companies. The details of these projects are commercially sensitive and subject to agreement.