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Zero Emission Vehicles

Volume 697: debated on Thursday 24 June 2021

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on incentivising the purchase of zero emission vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. (901733)

Alongside the phase-out dates, we have pledged a £2.8 billion package of measures to support the industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. Discussions with my colleagues are ongoing.

The 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is a necessary step to reach our net zero targets, but to enable mass adoption of electric vehicles, we need to fix the issues around charging points. Currently, many in service do not work—or they charge inefficiently—and they are under-provided and excessively priced in some areas. Because they are run by independent providers, there is no joined-up national infrastructure. Given that we need to roll out widespread charging points across the UK and tackle these issues, does the Secretary of State agree that the Government need to invest much more and properly regulate the sector so that it is better joined-up, more reliable and more accessible?

As a driver of an electric vehicle, I have experienced the exact issues that the hon. Lady talks about. There are too many different membership cards, and people have to use too many different forms of payment and sign up to too many sites before they can even pay for the miles that they charge. We have a plan in place, which has included taking secondary legislation action that will require all chargers providing rapid charge to allow contactless payment, which I know the hon. Lady will appreciate.

As a fellow electric car driver, I cannot wait for those regulations to come forward.

As the Climate Change Committee made clear this morning, the Government are not delivering on the policies needed to meet their climate targets. As well as incentivising EV purchases and improving EV charging infrastructure, we need EVs to be built in Britain. What conversations has the Secretary of State had with the Business Secretary about Government support for EV manufacturing at the Ford Halewood plant, which is crucial if we are to secure the future viability of the site, and about saving jobs making vehicle components at the GKN plant in Birmingham?

The hon. Lady will know that the Government have pledged half a billion pounds towards creating factories to produce batteries, which is a very important part of the development of electric cars. I often hear people say that we are somehow falling behind. In fact, we had the second highest sales of electric vehicles in Europe in the first quarter of this year; one in seven cars sold now has plug-in. I cannot comment directly on the discussions that my right hon. Friend the Business Secretary has had about those specific plants, but I can tell the hon. Lady that discussions are ongoing in order to achieve the infrastructure delivery in this country, including the manufacturing base, which will continue to ensure that we lead Europe when it comes to electric car provision.