By Bill Heaney
Scottish Liberal Democrat climate emergency spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today accused the SNP government of creating a misleading picture about the financial support available for purchasing new Electric Vehicles (EVs).
He revealed that the government are continuing to promote and advertise an EV loan scheme for new vehicles which no longer exists.
And meanwhile a fleet of electric vehicles purchased by the former SNP administration, so far as we know, sit motionless in the car park of the West Dunbartonshire Council offices in Clydebank, having never turned a wheel.
The Democrat cannot establish the current situation with these vehicles because the former SNP administration bans us from speaking direct to them – and Labour has scandalously kept that ban in place since they took over at the last local government elections.
On 4th March 2022, the Scottish Government closed its Electric Vehicle Loan scheme, which supported the purchase of new EVs.
Scottish Liberal Democrat research has now revealed that:
- More than eleven months after the scheme closed, the government website continues to advertise the loan to the public, highlighting the availability of “up to £28,000 to cover the cost of purchasing a new pure electric vehicle” and “up to £10,000 to cover the cost of purchasing a new electric motorcycle or scooter.”
- The advert on the government website contains a link to more information on the loan, but this is a link to a web-page that doesn’t exist.
- More than nine months after the scheme had closed, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) report from 7th December 2022 seemed to believe that the Electric Vehicle Loan scheme still existed. It praised the Scottish Government for “continuing to offer interest-free loans, which apply to both new and used EVs.”
- In its policy scorecard for transport, the Committee cited the cancelled loan scheme as an example of “good progress” and awarded the Scottish Government a positive ‘green’ rating for the “Funding and other financial incentives” of zero carbon vehicles.
- In response to a parliamentary question submitted by Mr McArthur in January 2023, Transport Secretary Jenny Gilruth confirmed that, “no specific loan funding is set aside for new vehicles.” The only exception to this is taxis and private hires, which can use the government’s loan scheme for used EVs to purchase new vehicles.
Mr McArthur, pictured left, said: “The Scottish Government has quite clearly created a misleading picture of the support available for purchasing EVs. Worryingly, this kind of misrepresentation isn’t a first for them. For years, the SNP peddled a false statistic about Scotland’s renewables sector, a lie that the First Minister has yet to set the record straight on.
“This government won’t meet its climate targets by cutting support for schemes which encourage people to make the switch to low-carbon transport. There simply are not enough used EVs on the market for everyone to transition to low-carbon transport this way so support for new purchases is clearly necessary.
“The UK government has recently ended its subsidies for EVs and now the SNP-Green coalition looks like they’re following the same road as the Conservatives. This comes at a time when the Climate Change Committee has condemned the Scottish Government for lacking a clear plan to reduce emissions.
“If the Scottish Government won’t tackle the climate crisis, Scottish Liberal Democrats will. We are calling for all new public sector vehicles to be low or zero emissions, for the development of a reliable charging network across the country, for longer term government-backed interest-free loans to purchase EVs and for a government-funded scheme that allows everyone to try out an EV for the weekend.”
The Democrat has asked West Dunbartonshire Council to lift the ban on us asking questions by speaking to their communications department, but so far we have received no answer from the new Labour administration which appears to have extended the SNP’s Secret Scotland policies to our digital platform.
Top picture: A fleet of electric vehicles purchased by the former SNP administration, so far as we know, sitting motionless in the car park of the West Dunbartonshire Council offices in Clydebank, having never turned a wheel.