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Electric Vehicles: Scotland

Volume 632: debated on Thursday 30 November 2017

I have ongoing discussions with the Scottish Government, as well as all the devolved Administrations, about the uptake of electric vehicles, and the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill—which I recommend very strongly to the hon. Gentleman—is progressing through Parliament. There is also strong engagement at an official level through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles with all devolved Administrations.

I thank the Minister for that answer. The Scottish Government aim to establish one of the most comprehensive charging networks in Europe, so we welcome the announcement of £400 million for electric charge points as part of the industrial strategy, but can the Minister confirm what the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said on the industrial strategy on Monday: that that £400 million will be allocated on a localised needs-based approach and not just one based on population?

That is a good point. This was considered closely in Committee, and, as the hon. Gentleman will know, the provisions of the Bill allow for the development of more charge points, supported by the announcement of £300 million in the autumn Budget—£200 million for infrastructure and £100 million for the plug-in car grant. However, he is right to suggest that we need to be mindful of the effect in rural areas. I do not want us to end up with certain areas covered by good infrastructure but it being absent elsewhere. I said in Committee, and I repeat here in the House, that we will look at further measures to ensure the even spread of the infrastructure.

More and more people in East Renfrewshire are looking to purchase electric vehicles, but they are put off by the lack of charging points. What steps will the Minister take to ensure that charging point infrastructure is consistent right across the UK?

There are a number of ways in which we can do that. I have spoken about major retailers, and there are provisions relating to them in the Bill. That will tend to mean that charge points are clustered around major arterial routes, but the good news is that I am working closely with colleagues to make sure that local authorities ensure that there are on-street charging points. I am open to other suggestions about how we might ensure that charge points are spread across the country, and I invite such suggestions from Members right across the House as the Bill makes its progress through Parliament.