Unite, the UK’s biggest union for car workers, called on the chancellor Philip Hammond to rule out rumoured cuts to subsidies for electric vehicles amid today’s (Monday 8 October) climate change warnings from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The landmark IPCC report says that urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to cut emissions and avoid the risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. The authors lay out four pathways to ensure that global warming is kept to a maximum of 1.5C, all of which include the shift to electric transport systems.

The UN backed report follows reports that the government is planning to cut grants for electric vehicles while abolishing the £2,500 grant for hybrid plug-in vehicles altogether.

Describing the rumoured cuts as ‘ludicrous’ Unite warned that the changes would add thousands of pounds to the price of electric and hybrid vehicles and significantly undermine the drive to electric and hit government targets to reduce emissions.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. These rumoured self-defeating cuts will damage the UK electric car industry before it even gets off the starting grid at the same time as undermining the government’s own targets to reduce emissions.

“The UK government needs to be sprinting to catch up with the rest of the world on electric vehicles, yet ministers seem to be happy to not even break into a stroll. With dire warnings on the need to tackle climate change it is ludicrous that the government is toying with cutting support for electric and alternative powered vehicles.

“As the car industry struggles in the face of government confusion over diesel and ministers’ shambolic handling of Brexit, the last thing car workers need is yet more confusion and uncertainty.

“The chancellor Philip Hammond needs to use the budget to back the car industry and rule out cuts for electric vehicles. He needs to signal that the government will make the massive investment needed in infrastructure as part of a transition - that supports jobs - to electric and alternatively powered vehicles.

“Anything less will leave the Conservative government’s green credentials in tatters and strip the UK of the opportunity to be a global leader in electric and alternatively powered vehicles.”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.