Updated Mop-haired Brit Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering ways to jumpstart the UK economy, including a scheme to hand £6,000 of taxpayers' cash to every driver who permanently parks their petrol or diesel guzzler and buys an electric car.
According to The Telegraph, Johnson intends to unveil the initiative on 6 July to help correct the misfiring economy, and is also expected to push on with large-scale infrastructure projects as he prepares for the third stage of exiting lockdown.
The car industry has been hit hard by COVID-19: dealership showrooms closed and consumer appetites for new petrol or diesel motors diminished, though electric vehicle shipments held up pretty well in Europe.
The government's car scrappage scheme has echoes of former Labour PM Gordon Brown's efforts to financially motivate people to buy petrol-powered cars instead of diesel.
The Reg has asked the the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to comment and will update the article when it responds. It is not yet known if certain brands will qualify and whether Brit taxpayers will be contributing to the purchase of Baby Elon's nappies.
According to the Office of National Statistics, UK gross domestic product in volume terms dropped roughly 2 per cent in calendar Q1 (January to March) on the same period a year ago, the largest fall since the fourth quarter of 2008 when the credit crunch bit.
Britain entered lockdown on 23 March, when Brits were told to stay indoors, work from home and only leave their premises for trips to the supermarket or for medicine.
The ONS further revealed that service output in Britain fell by a record 1.9 per cent, with significant shrinkage also noted in the production and construction sectors. Household consumption went backwards by 1.7 per cent, alongside declines in fixed capital formation, government consumption and trade volumes.
Restrictions on certain businesses have been relaxed, with car showrooms now open, and it will take a major coordinated effort to get the economy working again, assuming another wave of the coronavirus does not derail any plans.
Research by Canalys published on 4 June states deliveries of new cars dropped by more than a quarter (26 per cent) in Europe during Q1 to 3 million. However, shipments of electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles went up 72 per cent to 218,000.
"Demand for EVs outstripped supply and there are long waiting list and lead times for new high-profile EVs. Some automative OEMs were forced to delay launches and some even kept older EVs on the market to satisfy demand," said Chris Jones, chief analyst for the automotive sector at Canalys.
"Government incentives and trade-ins will mean substantial discounts on new EVs – all good news as dealerships reopen and the market picks itself up."
The Tesla Model 3 saw the biggest shipments into Europe (more than 20,000), Jones added.
Canalys said the spike in unemployment, the unpredictable economy and continued lockdown and travel restrictions caused by the virus will weigh heavily on actual sales.
Stats from EDF Energy show there are now more than 30,000 charging point across the UK for electric cars, based in 11,000 locations. Some 10,000 charge points were added in 2019. But if no one uses them, were they ever installed? ®
Updated at 16:13 BST on 8 June
Following publication, a spokesperson for BEIS sent us a statement: "We are committed to reducing carbon emissions across our transport sector and reaching our goal of net zero by 2050.
"The government is considering the long-term future of incentives for zero emission vehicles alongside our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans."