Electric Vehicles and Bicycles

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:01 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 5:01 pm, 9th May 2018

I agree wholeheartedly. The idea of electric vehicles is taking root in Northern Ireland. Although most electric vehicle drivers charge their car at home, there is a network of 336 public charge points across Northern Ireland, which are owned and operated by the Electricity Supply Board. More and more councils are looking to provide charging points in council-owned car parks, in an attempt to encourage people to understand that if they decide to buy an electric car, they will be able to charge it when they are out and about or away on their holidays. I am conscious of the time—I will keep to the limit, Mr McCabe—but perhaps the Minister will give us some idea of how we can encourage the provision of charging points. If we do not have charging points in rural areas, we cannot encourage people who live in the countryside to participate.

I commend the tax breaks that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Minister were involved in providing. Those tax breaks, which the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire and other Members mentioned, have incentivised businesses to be involved in electric cars. A business can get a 100% first-year allowance for its expenditure on new and unused electric vans. That is critical to making this happen, and it is important that we move it forward. That allowance applies to expenditure from 1 April 2010 for companies that pay corporation tax, and from 6 April 2010 for businesses that pay income tax.

All that is an attempt to ensure that we encourage individuals and businesses alike to take the forward step of buying electric vehicles where possible. We can do more to encourage people to look at that idea by offering non-business owners greater tax breaks on new cars for personal use. Let us encourage people by incentivising them. As the Minister probably knows already, we can do that with tax breaks.