Help us make the switch – MPs press for more electric vehicle support

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TWO Wearside MPs are backing Sunderland’s drive to be a world centre of clean motoring.

Sunderland’s Nissan plant will begin building the all-electric Leaf family car next year.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has backed an influential Commons Committee’s calls for more Government support for plug-in vehicles like the Leaf, while her Houghton and Sunderland South colleague Bridget Phillipson has praised the new car after Nissan offered MPs the chance of a Westminster test drive.

Sharon Hodgson’s comments came after the House of Commons Transport Select Committee published a report urging the Government to take a closer role in the scheme which encourages use of plug-in vehicles and slammed its decision to scrap allowances aimed at encouraging businesses to lease cars such as the Leaf as part of their company fleet.

The report also included a recommendation that the Government collect and publish information on the location of charging points, after it emerged ministers did not even have a list of those installed using public money.

Mrs Hodgson called on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to encouraging widespread use of electric vehicles.

“This Government blows hot and cold when it comes to backing electric cars like the Leaf. It committed to Labour’s subsidy of up to £5,000 to encourage domestic customers, then scrapped capital allowances for companies, which are very important in generating initial demand.

“How successful the Leaf is will have a big impact on the future of Nissan in Sunderland, and therefore on the future of Sunderland itself.

“The council is doing its bit by installing dozens of charging points across the city. Now the Government needs to do its bit and do all it can to encourage households and businesses in the rest of the country to make the switch.”

Ms Phillipson said: “It is a vote of confidence in Nissan’s Sunderland workforce and the hundreds of small and medium-size businesses that make up the supply chain that they were chosen to build the Leaf.

“It is a dream to drive.”

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