More than 110,800 orders for new vehicles have been placed since the scrappage scheme was announced in the Budget. July vehicle registration figures are not published yet, so I cannot give an exact answer. However, industry has indicated that total sales in June were 15 per cent. higher than forecast. To date, £15,080,000 has been paid out, and a further £14.5 million-worth of claims from manufacturers are being processed for payment.
I thank the Minister for that response. May I also draw his attention to a slight discrepancy in the rules regarding cars that were first registered in Northern Ireland on or before 31 August 1999? My constituents, Andrew and Rachael Budd, found that although Ford, Renault and Citroen would gladly scrap their vehicle, Vauxhall and Peugeot said that they would not. Therefore, there are different interpretations of the rules. Will the Minister assure the House that cars first registered in Northern Ireland are covered by the scheme?
I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for drawing my attention to that individual case. I will certainly look into the matter and try to take it forward. There have been glitches in the scheme, which the Department and officials working with me have been anxious to address. I am grateful to Members of Parliament for bringing individual cases to my attention, and I urge them to do so again.
Here is another case for the Minister. One of my constituents has had a car in her family for many years, but sadly, her husband, in whose name the car was registered, died a few months ago, and it appeared that the car was now outside the rules. I e-mailed an urgent inquiry to the Minister’s Department on 5 June, and followed it up on 23 June and 2 July. It is now 16 July, and there has been no answer on a clearly sensitive issue. I would be grateful if this was one of the glitches he ironed out.
I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I am surprised that he has not received an answer, because the circumstance to which he refers is one that we have worked to address, and we hope that we have found a solution to the problem. I will come back to him immediately after questions.