Money for new cars but not for solar panels

Today the UK “scrappage” scheme comes into operation. It was announced in the Budget by Alistair Darling just a few weeks ago, as an environmental measure, but it is really a measure to try to help the car industry which has been suffering in the recession. If you have a car that it more than ten years old you can get £2,000 for scrapping it, towards the cost of a new car.

Half the £2000 is being paid by the car manufacturers and if the scheme is successful the taxpayer will benefit from the value added tax on the new car purchase, which will be more than the £1000, but only on the assumption that the scheme creates a buying decision which would not have otherwise been made.

The astonishing thing is not the hare brained nature of the scheme. We are long used to the wealthy multinational industries picking the taxpayers’ pockets when times are hard. They seem to have a direct line to the Government and in this case Mr Mandelson has found £300 million for them.

Unfortunately for them the scheme is ill conceived; most people in the market for new cars will be better off looking for discounts from dealers or buying demonstration or nearly new cars. They will be able to save far more doing those things than using the scrappage scheme, so the scheme will not benefit the car industry at all. That does not astonish in itself astonish me.

Helping the car industry quickly by a scheme that will not work is about par for the course, in terms of competency from the environmental record of this government; it is a measure that has been badly thought out and will not help much in reducing emissions and pollution by vehicles on British roads.

What I find astonishing is the speed at which the money has been found and the scheme put together. In the solar thermal industry, which can directly save both fossil fuel energy and emissions, we have been waiting for a programme to replace the existing barely used grants programme from the government for two years. It now looks that at the earliest the nation will have to wait for a proper incentive programme for at least another two years, and even them I shall not be holding my breath for a scheme that actually works.

There is no environmental requirement for people taking up the car scrappage scheme. You can exchange a small old fuel economical car for a gas guzzling one, getting £2000 from the tax payer as a benefit.

If it is thought right to pay people £2000 to replace 150,000 cars in order to apparently sustain jobs in an industry that will inevitably lose jobs because their fundamental product is no longer badly made so as to need replacing every three years where most of the jobs are abroad and where people will want to buy even more economical cars than those presently being offered, then we have to wonder why is it so hard to find £1000 for 300,000 homes to install solar panels.

Such an incentive would create jobs in the United Kingdom for installers of solar panels, and would provide savings of at least 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Of course the Government has trumpeted its own legally binding commitment to reduce emissions; the £300 million for the car industry will not do this at all.

I suppose the lesson of this is that the more that you have the more you should get from the government. People buying new cars will be helped; people wanting to address climate change by investing in renewables do not, according to the government, deserve the same consideration, climate change targets or not.

2 Responses

  1. I do agree with you. Why use money to build new cars than using it to pay the people whose job it is to install the solar panels on the cars?

  2. Absolutely correct again here, and another catch 22 siuation here, the power companies will loose out to every solar panel that is made and fitted, as soon as the majority saves real money on their total bill the price of energy will rise acordingly, so nobody will be any better off, and the amount of energy being used and pollution made in the making of these items, will counteract everything.

    a more responsible way to stave off pollution is for everyone to drive less, but again, the less we use the more it will cost us, when the fuel is gone the power producers will start looking for an alternative to making their money, you can guess where they will turn in order of staying at the top of the tree.

    Giving someone for nothing , in this case its a two thousand pound discount for their clunker will backfire in latter years reflected in second hand trade ins of those vehicles especially at the same garage where it was sold,also the totals left on the roads will stay the same, and the Co2 will rise too, as all their new
    C A T’s pump out converted Co2,

    If the manufacturers want to sell more new cars, why on earth do they not sell them at a more realistic price,
    I’m sure they could make them for half the price they are now, and design one that will do a 100 miles to the gallon, but that’s not in the governments intrest because a massive amount of taxes would be wiped out in the process,

    There is so much coruption even in the car markets where its still cheaper to buy a new car made in the UK than it is for the same car sold just over the channel, these types of policies will only harm our cause further, driving away customers, no pun intended,

    Another sceanario we forget, that the majority of new cars sold on the UK mainland were all made by forein makers, so giving away money alternatives would only line their pockets and not ous,

    Now the bubble has broken, there will be no quick way to fix things and we will see all of the manufacturers being bought out and lay off’s become the norm, yet another maker lost to another ruling factor, one that will pull the plug eventually as the east get more efficient at making new cars.

    Lock stock and barrel have been moved out many times before, and it will happen again and again until there is nothing whatsovever left in this country, get ready for the horse and cart society, which are already tagged and chipped, is there ever going to be any hope for those who have the least.

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