According to PM Gordon Brown, electric cars are to be introduce en masse across Britain in plans for an environmentally friendly budget. The Prime Minister hopes to make Britain “a world leader” in producing and exporting electric cars and hybrid petrol-electric vehicles.
Trials for electric cars in two or three cities could be up and running as soon as next year, he said. As part of the plan, the Government will also open talks with power companies to ensure vehicles can have their batteries recharged at power points at the roadside.
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, is also planning to create 400,000 jobs in the green sector over the next five years. Other measures will include the Government relaxing planning rules to allow the building of more wind farms to ensure Britain hits its target to generate 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
In a newspaper interview, Mr Brown kept open the option of a limited further fiscal stimulus in the Budget, but he hinted that the Chancellor might have to announce more tax rises to balance the books as public borrowing looks likely to rise from £118bn to around £150bn.
He said: “It is not just what we do to give real help now, but about setting a path for the future as well. We always take into account what we need and what is best future for the fiscal position.”
He added that the country could increase its output of environmental goods and services by 50 per cent to £1.5bn in the next five years.
Mr Brown said that a “scrappage” scheme where motorists would get up to £2,000 for trading in an older car for a cleaner new vehicle, was possible. He also said that he would consider buying electric cars for ministers as a means of setting an example.
Speaking of the environmental plans, he added: “This is a job creator, a quality of life improver and an environment-enhancing measure.
“We want to harness a desire among people to be part of this. A better Britain means building a greener Britain.”
He continued: “This is going to be a progressive decade. I think people do understand that some of the problems we had can only be solved, first of all, by governments working together with other governments, nations co-operating with nations. There is a new internationalism, a new strategic role for countries working together to solve common problems.
“There is a recognition that if we don’t invest in the future – in areas such as education and the environment – we will not have the future people want to see. Those countries that invest in the future will be the successful countries of the future. Those who simply want to cut public spending, rein back on investment, be isolated in Europe, will not meet the progressive challenges of our times.”
Mr Brown’s comments on the environment come as car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover was granted a £340 million loan from the European Investment Bank to develop “green” vehicles, with a further £373m to be split between Nissan’s plants in Sunderland and Spain.
Despite the environmental optimism, it is thought Mr Darling’s Budget will offer little in terms of economic recovery.
Last November, at his Pre-Budget Report, he had hoped progress could be underway by this summer but the economy has performed worse than the Treasury had expected. Mr Darling is expected to speak of rising unemployment and a record national debt.
Source: The Telegraph