Labour is calling for an electric vehicle “revolution” to give a boost to the car industry and create jobs across the UK.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband will outline ambitious plans to create new jobs and make owning a zero-emission vehicle an “option for all.”
In a speech in London on Thursday, he will call for part-financing the creation of three new gigafactories by 2025, providing greater security for the sector and shoring up Britain’s global leadership in the electric vehicle market.
Interest-free loans should be offered for new and used electric vehicles to those on low to middle incomes to remove the upfront cost barrier, he will say.
Miliband will also call for a quicker rollout of charging points on streets, targeting areas such as Yorkshire, the North West and the West Midlands.
Constructing gigafactories is crucial for the future of the automotive sector, especially in light of the trade deal with the EU, according to Labour.
Miliband will say: “To back the car industry and create jobs, Labour would bring forward ambitious proposals to spark an electric vehicle revolution in every part of the country.
“By extending the option to buy an electric car to those on lower incomes and accelerating the rollout of charging points in regions that have been left out, we would ensure that everyone could benefit, rather than bake in unfairness.
“While it’s right that government has said the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end, it’s wrong it is imposing a massive transition on our manufacturers from Whitehall then washing its hands of it.
“It’s not fair, it will damage our manufacturers, and it will mean losing out on the chance to be the world-leader in the electric vehicle market.
“Labour would back our manufacturers and the communities with proud histories in the industry, but the government is asleep at the wheel.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner welcomed Labour’s plans, adding: “What Labour understands that the Conservatives do not, is that urgent and substantive action is needed if the UK’s world class auto industry, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that come with it, are to make a successful transition to clean energy.
“If we are to remain a major car manufacturing nation whilst also fulfilling our climate obligations, the government must lose no time in adopting these plans.
“The green jobs and tech that will be the basis of the country’s economy in the years to come will not appear on their own, the government must lay their foundations in the present.”
A government spokesman said: “We’re investing up to £2.8 billion in driving the switch to electric vehicles, working with industry to support the installation of thousands of chargepoints, and boosting the development of new technologies through the Automotive Transformation Fund.
“Last year, SMMT stats show more than one in 10 cars sold in the UK had a plug, showing that the electric vehicle revolution is already happening up and down the country.”