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Labour to restore 2030 ICE ban, but fuel duty hike on the cards

The Labour Party’s manifesto promises support for the EV manufacturing industry and used electric car buyers, as well as an investigation into high insurance prices

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The Labour Party has announced its vision for the UK’s automotive industry in its manifesto for the 2024 general election. Keir Stamer says his party will restore the original 2030 ban on ICE vehicles, invest £1.5 billion to build automotive gigafactories and fix Britain’s decaying roads, but he refused to rule out reversing the ongoing cut to fuel duty.

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Following a recommendation from the cross-party Business and Trade Committee, Labour has committed to inject £1.5 billion of taxpayer cash into building electric car gigafactories, much like the one in development in Somerset by Tata Motors, owner of Jaguar-Land Rover. This, as per the party’s manifesto, intends to attract another £4.5 billion of private investment from the automotive industry and, according to the Committee, will protect as many as 160,000 jobs.

On the theme of EVs, Labour has also promised to restore the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, reversing the delay put in place by the Conservative government. In its already-announced ‘Plan for Drivers’, Keir Starmer’s party has also said it will accelerate the deployment of public charging infrastructure by providing local authorities with “better guidance” regarding where to install charge points and how to utilise funds more effectively.

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Unlike the Liberal Democrats, Labour has not committed to restore the plug-in vehicle grant in order to boost private uptake of EVs which is currently dwarfed by the business market share. In its manifesto, Labour has stated that it will support buyers of used electric cars “by standardising the information supplied on the condition of batteries.” This could materialise in the introduction of EV battery passports, a technology that not only displays what materials were used in manufacturing, but also the current health and capacity of the battery unit itself.

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Yet, while much has been said regarding the expansion of the UK’s electrified fleet, Labour remains tight-lipped about any changes it intends to make which might affect petrol and diesel drivers. In fact, when pressed by Sky News’ political editor, Beth Rigby, as to whether Labour would reverse the 5p cut to fuel duty, Starmer dodged the question, maintaining his party would not raise income tax, national insurance or VAT.

Still, Labour has said it will “urge” the Competition and Markets Authority and Financial Conduct Authority to launch a full investigation into sky-high insurance prices and whether postcode pricing practices are “unfairly targeting ethnic minorities and those on lower incomes”.

Finally, Labour said £320 million (£64 million per year) will be made available to fund local pothole repairs across the country, with the aim to fix one million potholes per year. The party also says it’s to reform the planning system in order to speed up road building, as well as introduce a revised ‘Strategic Framework for Road Safety’. 

The launch of Labour’s manifesto comes as part of a week of big party announcements, with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Green Party all setting out their election pledges earlier this week. Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party is expected to reveal its own manifesto on Monday.

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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