A £400m government plan to build electric car charging points looks likely to be significantly delayed, in a blow to car manufacturers and efforts to tackle air pollution in UK cities.
The Treasury pledged last year to support the switch to zero-emission vehicles with a £400m fund for charging infrastructure. Half of the money was to come from the taxpayer, with the rest matched by the private sector, according to an announcement in the autumn budget.
However, nearly half a year later, it has emerged that the government has not even started the recruitment process for an official to raise the £200m of private investment – let alone begin the process of securing the funding.
“We expect to launch the procurement for the private sector fund manager in summer 2018,” Robert Jenrick, a junior Treasury minister, said.
In a written parliamentary answer, he said the government had been busy engaging with the private sector to ensure the fund was “set up in the most effective way”.
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “The government’s electric vehicles policy has run out of power before leaving the driveway. Ministers failed to admit they hadn’t secured a penny of investment and didn’t intend to raise anything in the near future. They have announced £200m that isn’t theirs and hasn’t been promised to them.”