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Revealed: Tory manifesto recycles previous EV funding

The Conservative Party manifesto has failed to offer new funding for the growth of low emission vehicles, instead pledging to spend the same money that has been allocated since 2015’s election.

Released last week, the government’s manifesto for re-election restates its intention to see every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050, promising to spend £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it.

However a Conservative party spokesperson confirmed to CEN that this was the same funding promised since the last election.

This £600 million package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) includes £400 million of guaranteed money for individual plug-in car grants, investment in ultra-low emission taxis, and research and development funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and better car batteries.

However, since the funding was first increased from the party’s pledge of £500 million in David Cameron’s 2015 manifesto, spending commitments from OLEV and the Department for Transport have spiralled, leaving considerably more cash promised to low emission vehicles than £600 million.

Previously announced initiatives for low emission buses, workplace charging schemes, hydrogen fuel competitions, an extension to the plug-in car grant to incorporate vans and more have added almost £200 million more.

Low emission vehicle initiatives since 2015Funding
Low emission bus scheme, 2016 to 2017£30.4 million
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Fleet Support Scheme£2 million
Low emission vehicle systems competitionup to £24 million
Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure Demonstration Trial £11.3 million
Package of measures including workplace charging scheme, charge points for taxis, on-street residential projects£35 million
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles£2 million
Low and zero-emission freight vehicles £20 million
OLEV grants (April 2017)£16.7 million
Plug-in car grant£400 million
Plug-in van grant (extension)£4 million
TOTAL£545.4 million

Further funding for research and development had been drawn from other departments, notably the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which revealed joint funding with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre of £78 million in April.

This was included in the Spring Budget as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) while additional funds were announced in the previous Autumn Statement of £230 million for additional schemes.

Assuming the Conservatives stick to these initiatives should they be returned to power on 9 June, this means the government will not commit any more funds to electric and low emission vehicles by 2020 other than what has already been announced.

While the low carbon transport industry has been buoyed by the stream of funding from government which has ramped up since Theresa May took power, there has been little explanation of an updates to funding commitments, with the government expected to overshoot its previous promises.

This raises serious questions over the latest manifestos commitments as despite the claim of £600 million to be spent by 2020, none of this appears to be new funding and the majority of it has already been spent.

Conservative Party HQ failed to provide an explanation of its funding proposals for low emission vehicles as set out in its latest manifesto by the time of publication.