Labour promises £60bn of interest-free loans to help SMEs switch to e-cars

Labour would enable loans of up to £35,000 to help small businesses upgrade to an electric vehicle as part of green technology push

Labour will introduce 2.5 million interest-free loans to help small businesses, sole traders and low-income households to buy electric cars.

The measure will cost £60bn over a five-year period.

Speaking on the BBC Today programme, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the loans of up to £35,000 would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on a loan, with individuals saving up to £5,000 over time.

McDonnell said: “This will stimulate the automotive industry, it will sustain jobs in the conversion from fossil fuels to electric but actually it will create new jobs as well.

“So this is beneficial in terms of the climate, it is beneficial for those people who want to convert their carbon-fuel powered car into an electric vehicle that is sustainable.

“At same time it will help support the automotive industry and create jobs. Those jobs are in areas where we have had real issues, particularly with Brexit.”

The interest-free loans will require participation in a mass trial of Vehicle-2-Grid technology that will allow the UK to transition to renewable energy.

This new technology will allow electric cars to store excess energy from the national grid, smoothing energy supply from renewable sources.

Today, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey will announce at the Labour Party conference in Brighton that, if elected, it will build a national network of electric vehicle charging point at a cost of £3.5bn.

The rollout of rapid-charging stations on motorways and urban streets would be enough for more than 21m cars in the next decade, and, the party said, would remove one of the biggest obstacles to electric car ownership and create 3,000 skilled jobs for electricians and engineers.

Combined with its interest-free loan offer, together the measures are forecast that electric cars make up two-thirds of the total UK fleet by 2030.

The investment required will come from the £250bn national transformation fund planned by the shadow chancellor to rebalance infrastructure projects away from the south, a “large proportion” of which will go directly to green infrastructure projects.

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Preparing your business for the electric revolution

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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