Former Top Gear host ‘staggered’ as VAT for EV charging is not cut

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Former Top Gear host ‘staggered’ as VAT for EV charging is not cut

The former Top Gear presenter and founder of the EV campaign group FairCharge Quentin Willson has voiced his disappointment over the Spring Budget.

Whilst the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the current freeze on fuel duty will be maintained for the next 12-months, there were no plans to cut the VAT rate on electric car charging.

Quentin noted that investing money into lowering the VAT rate on EV charging could encourage more motorists to switch from a petrol or diesel to an electric alternative.

He explained: « FairCharge is staggered that the Chancellor is prepared to spend £5billion on a fuel duty freeze and continuation of the 5p cut, yet won’t spend 125th of that – circa £40million – on cutting the VAT on public EV charging.

« Why wouldn’t you support a drive for cleaner air in our towns and cities? Might it have something to do with an election, we wonder. »

In January 2024, the Department for Transport introduced the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, which requires manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles each year.

To avoid being fined, 22 percent of the vehicles sold by most car brands will have to be zero-emissions vehicles during 2024, with the amount steadily increasing ahead of the ban of new petrol and diesel cars in 2035.

Whilst many have welcomed the mandate, some motoring experts have warned that a lack of incentives for drivers to switch to electric, such as cutting the VAT rate on charging, could result in more pressure on car companies.

Quentin also highlighted that a cut in VAT on public charging would likely result in motorists saving more money, with suppliers stating they would have passed on savings.

He added: « Drivers may not see the 5p cut passed on at the pumps but charge point operators say they would pass on any reduction in VAT directly to consumers.

« And cutrting VAT on public charging could save EV drivers up to £1,300 over 10,000 miles, helping them with zero tailpipe emissions. »

However, announcing the Spring Budget to the Commons, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt noted that more money will be invested into the research and development of zero-emission vehicles.

He said: « Advanced Manufacturing has announced a further £270million of investment into innovative new automotive and aerospace R&D projects, building the UK’s capabilities in zero-emission vehicle and clean aviation technologies. »

Whilst there are currently over a million zero emission vehicles on the roads, only a handful of models, including the Mini Electric and Nissan Leaf, are built in the UK.

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