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Vehicle scrappage schemes

Published Thursday, November 9, 2017

This paper gives a brief overview of the debates about vehicle scrappage schemes in recent years – from the 2009 scrappage scheme introduced by the Labour Government to calls from 2015 onwards for a new diesel scrappage scheme to help improve air quality.

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In essence, a ‘vehicle scrappage scheme’ involves some sort of incentive for a vehicle owner to scrap their vehicle – either by trading it in for a new one or for some other sort of benefit (e.g. free travel on public transport).

There was one scrappage scheme in the UK in 2009, designed to help the motor industry through the recession which followed the financial crash. It essentially gave vehicle owners £2,000 (co-funded by the Government and the car industry) if they scrapped their old vehicle and bought a new one. There were eligibility criteria associated and specifications as to what sort of new vehicle must be purchased. Almost 400,000 claims were submitted under the scheme.

The issue then died away until 2015, when a combination of factors involving air quality standards, diesel emissions and emissions cheating came to light, providing a ‘perfect storm’ for renewed interest in getting older, polluting vehicles off the road. There have been a number of different suggestions put forward for a scrappage scheme, targeted at older, diesel-powered vehicles, but the Government has to date remained cool on the idea. The motor industry has instead launched a slew of schemes, there are over 20 available to consumers at present.

Further information on road transport issues can be found on the Roads briefings page of the Parliament website.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8091

Author: Louise Butcher

Topics: Manufacturing industries, Pollution, Roads

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