Government incentives to buy new (more efficient) cars seemed such a great idea, Alf was about to raise it with The Boss.
One of its great merits is that environmentalists have dumped on it.
Its biggest impediment, on the other hand, is that Labourites seem to be thinking about implementing it. The Telegraph says Britain’s Government
is tipped to announce a £2,000 incentive to buy a new car, according to briefings from the Treasury in advance of next week’s Budget.
Buyers would be entitled to a discount on a new car if they scrap their old one.
The scheme, which is billed as an environmental measure because new cars are more fuel-efficient, is intended to throw a lifeline to Britain’s ailing motor industry. Whatever the reason, consumers stand to benefit from lower prices on new cars.
Many other countries have introduced “scrappage” schemes – Britain and Poland are the only major European countries that have not, according to UK’s Automobile Association.
“I have been involved with ministers in trying to get them to introduce a scrappage scheme,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“It appears that the Government has looked closely at the German scheme, even though there are other schemes in Austria, France, Italy, Portugal and other countries.”
Buyers would need their old car to be at least nine or 10 years old (Germany and France specify nine years, France 10) and to have owned it for a minium period, which Mr King predicted to be six months.
They would qualify for the incentive if they could prove that they were the owner and that the car had been taxed over the previous six or 12 months.
The value of the incentive has been widely quoted as £2,000, but there might be a sliding scale based on cost, fuel efficiency or other criteria and there would be restrictions on the car being bought.
But environmentalists say the the scrappage scheme is a “bail-out masquerading as a green initiative”.
An outfit called the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) says that while scrapping incentives are labelled “green” because they can subsidise the purchase of fuel-efficient cars, they fail to take account of the amount of energy required to build a new vehicle.
Uh, oh. We’ve got to look hard at that argument. It’s the same one our Government promotes when countering the stuff about “food miles”.
ETA director Andrew Davis, said: “Altering the way you drive and keeping a car longer can be a greener option than buying new.
“Even if the new model you buy is more economical, once you take into account the energy needed to scrap the old car and build an entirely new one, the overall benefits are likely to be tiny.”
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, lobbying from the other side of the argument, insists a scrappage scheme is desperately needed to boost the ailing UK car industry.
New-car registrations fell by more than 30 per cent in March, compared to the same month last year. The market in the first three months of 2009 has fallen by over 200,000 units, or 29.7 per cent.
Similar schemes have already boosted car sales in Germany, France and Italy.