Diesel Vehicle Scrappage Scheme — [Mr Christopher Chope in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:04 am on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley 10:04 am, 19th April 2017

I will depart slightly from the prevailing tenor of this discussion. I declare an interest, as one of the 11.7 million drivers of a diesel vehicle—in fact, I am a long-standing driver of a diesel vehicle—and as a Member of Parliament who represents one of the poorest areas of the country, but one that is at the heart of the British motor industry.

One of the things that I found slightly disturbing about the contribution by Neil Parish, who is the Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, who is someone I hold in high regard, was about the cost of this scheme. When I asked him about costs, he just talked about the cost of converting an individual vehicle. There was no mention of what the overall cost to the Exchequer would be, nor about how we would deal with the infrastructure cost. For example, he talked about gas vehicles, but what would be the cost of creating a gas infrastructure across the country? Part of the essence of any scheme must be a national infrastructure to back it up, otherwise it would be exceedingly unattractive to individual motorists, notwithstanding the fact that, for buses and major truck fleets for example, it might make an important contribution.

One thing I found interesting was when the hon. Gentleman talked about fines. I was really surprised that he showed so little confidence in the ability of his Prime Minister to negotiate an effective Brexit that he thinks the EU will still be in a position to fine us.