Back in February 2018, Renew had its official launch. One year later, Deputy Leader James Clarke humorously reflects on the day’s events.
On 19th February 2018, Renew was officially launched in front of the world's media at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster.
The event itself was something of a blur; the whole team was understandably stressed and nervous as many of the candid images now hilariously testify.
We waited nervously for the room to fill up and were extremely glad to see cameramen from BBC, Reuters, AP, and representatives from across Europe all the way to Japan. We also learned an important lesson: always book a room too small for your purposes. Although we had over 80 journalists, photographers and candidates from dozens of countries present, our friends at The Sun felt compelled to point out that the room was not quite full by the end. Politics is an unforgiving business.
Once the event got underway, things went fairly smoothly, with two quite amusing exceptions.
Sandra Khadouri and I gave our speeches first, followed by James Torrance. James then stepped off the podium in order to give an interview to the Daily Politics, who were waiting outside. Once in front of the cameras James was confronted with the accusation that he had stormed off the stage in protest. 'No', James responded calmly, 'That was me stepping out briefly to talk to you!'
Storm in a teacup averted, we moved on to the press conference Q&A. The questions were thoughtful and fair, our answers reasonable and considered - with one notable exception. In a line I had already used many times in private and public meetings I referred to Renew as “like the military arm” of the Remain movement. It was a throwaway comment, referring to the fact that we were standing candidates rather than just marching, but the assembled press pricked up their ears; they had their headline.
Later that day, the articles began to be published. The picks of the bunch were the The Sun, who called us “Saboteurs”, and Breitbart reported that “Globalism Strikes Back!” For a short time, I was not the most popular person with our comms teams and vowed never to utter the infamous phrase ever again (although I was privately thrilled that we were being taken seriously by the other side).
Happily, scores of other moderate news outlets were very sympathetic and overall we were extremely happy with the outcome. The New European, The Independent and The New Statesman all wrote approving profiles, as did Le Figaro, El Pais and Il Folgio in Europe.
In the following days we had over 600 new candidate applications (briefly breaking the website) and a newfound credibility.
We were underway...
In light of Honda’s decision to close its car manufacturing plant in Swindon, Adele Marshall-Reynolds gives her local opinion on Brexit’s impact on the community.
Whilst Theresa May continues to run down the Brexit clock, yet another major employer, carmaker Honda, who had reported in October 2018 that they were looking for materials to stockpile in the event of a no deal Brexit, this week announced plans to close their Swindon car manufacturing plant. This will lead to the loss of over 3,500 local jobs.
The uncertainty for Honda employees is evident; they have not yet been told by Honda what is actually happening. Some workers describe feeling like they are “in a mushroom” and one worker who did not wish to be identified said:
"We have had nothing from Honda - we have only heard what is on the news. The internal website was updated to say they didn't have any statement, but as they value the associate they should always discuss such information with us first. So - complete bull. Morale has totally gone… I feel completely shell shocked at the moment. The views on Brexit (amongst colleagues) are mixed, but we are generally dismayed at how useless the UK government is."
Yet MPs like Justin Tomlinson in North Swindon and Robert Buckland in South Swindon are seemingly determined to be on the wrong side of history. On the day of the decision, Tomlinson was quoted on the BBC as saying the decision had “nothing to do with Brexit”.
It is simply not appropriate (or likely even true) for Tomlinson to suggest that Brexit has nothing to do with this. Whilst the closure may be a business decision made within the overall context of other factors, such as declining car sales, reduced demand for diesel and import tariffs, saying Brexit is nothing to do with it is foolish. Not only that, but it is disingenuous and reeks of clinging to a desperate narrative of unicorns and rainbows.
Where’s the opposition?
As the town's industries start to topple, the question remains: how can Swindon's MPs continue to support a Conservative policy which is actively tearing apart communities and having a direct influence on employment? Both have been quick to play down any link between Honda closing and Brexit. Yet isn't it odd that Dyson moving to Singapore, Flybmi collapsing, Ford cutting thousands of jobs and Jaguar Land Rover doing the same also apparently have “nothing to do” with Brexit.
The head of Britain’s leading business body, Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, said recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos that there was mounting concern at a no deal Brexit’s potential to cause damage well beyond the UK. In addition, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned of growing threats to the global economy caused by Brexit.
"It is in the interests of everyone, arguably everywhere" that a Brexit solution is found, he said. The Bank has already cut its UK growth forecasts, due partly to Brexit-related issues.
The sad reality of the situation in Swindon is that these MPs are so blinkered by loyalty to their party that they have forgotten about loyalty to their country. Whilst both Swindon constituencies may have supported a ‘Leave’ vote at the time of the 2016 referendum, there is a definite change in the air as the realities of a no deal Brexit become clear. We’re so close to the 29th March and nobody knows what may happen to businesses and people’s jobs.
On the day of the Honda announcement, the same day on which seven Labour MPs announced they were leaving the Labour Party, Tomlinson tweeted: “The actions of Corbyn and his cult followers are destroying the once proud, pragmatic and strong Labour Party - raw emotion crystal clear in these speeches”.
Yet the problem he is not seeing before his own eyes is that the once proud, pragmatic and strong United Kingdom is being destroyed by the actions of Theresa May and her cult of followers, including the two MPs for Swindon.
David Letts, a small business owner from Market Harborough, explains how he thinks Brexit has damaged the future prospects of his enterprise.
I run a small independent lighting shop in Market Harborough.
Most of my stock comes from European suppliers. Some of my high-end products are manufactured in the EU. Some of the mid-range goods come from the Far East, but are sold via EU-based companies. Since the referendum, Pound Sterling has plummeted and, as a result, my costs have rocketed.
The shop is nearly five years old. I started it from nothing, with just my own cash and some help from local business mentors offering advice and encouragement. The main thing they told me was that it would take around three to five years for the business to take hold and start making a profit. After three years I had almost broken even, and would be able to start taking a wage.
Then David Cameron called a vote.
Within a few weeks of the result, I noticed a marked change in my customers’ spending. Before the vote, I was supplying new build and refurbishment projects. Although price was a factor, most customers were looking for certain styles and quality. Price was secondary, although they still expected a fair deal.
Now they were coming in and saying that they were no longer going ahead, or that they were cutting back and going with cheaper options. Generally, my sales and turnover went down. After five years, I am now where I was after three years, but instead of a forecast showing growth, my view is that it will level out, or reduce further... I can't see any positives as things stand.
I voted to remain in the European Union. I travelled around Europe as a child with my parents and was given the opportunity to see countries, learning learn about them and their cultures. This was a wonderful gift and I still thank them for it regularly.
My parents are both gone now, but if they were here today, they would be outside the House of Commons, screaming at the politicians - I have no doubt.
My reasons for voting Remain were more to do with the cultural and ‘no longer killing each other’ aspects of the European Union, as much as the economic benefits. I understood the historical importance of the Union’s purpose and have since learned so much more about the intricacies of membership. I have been actively involved with a couple of groups trying to stop brexit (deliberate lower case - it doesn't deserve a capital....)
In my shop I have postcards and leaflets for anyone to take away. I have posters and flags in the shop window. So far, with only one exception, everyone I talk to about brexit tells me that they are worried. They are relieved when I tell them that it's not too late and they leave with a card or two to send to their MP or the Prime Minister. I do find it depressing how many people still don't understand the gravitas of brexit, or have lost interest…
But Harborough voted Leave (52/48, oddly). The latest polls show a swing by 44/56 to Remain.
A few people I talk to online and in the shop have suggested that I stand as an MEP. I'm not sure that I'm qualified enough, although having seen what the ‘Kippers do, I'm probably overqualified...
I'm European, English and British. Only, I'm not ashamed to be European at the moment.
“We can win support for policies that encourage and reward enterprise but send a clear message about responsible capitalism”, says successful entrepreneur and Renew supporter Andrew Young. Read more in his opinion piece below.
It’s not just politics that’s broken.
Like most business owners and corporate executives, my political leanings have always been to the right of centre, based on the simple premise that less government intervention and lower taxes leads to more economic activity which in turn generates more tax revenue to pay for public services.
Yet after a long and reasonably successful business career, I find myself seeking a political party that is prepared to tackle the unjustifiable excesses and egregious practices of the corporate world.
In 1998 I started a specialist employee communications agency, helping large corporate clients to attract and retain staff by developing a strong employer brand. My approach to business was straightforward enough: hire good people and keep them happy. Do great work for your clients. Maintain adequate working capital and reinvest profits to grow. Think long-term and take manageable risks.
It never crossed my mind to find clever ways to minimise tax or to pay myself 200 times the salary of the most junior employee, despite the fact that some of our clients were doing these things and worse. By the time I sold the business in 2015, we had annual revenues of £20m with 150 people in London, Bristol and New York. Our reputation as good corporate citizens remained intact, but I’m afraid the same can’t be said for business in general.
While I’m sure the majority of businesses operate in an ethical way, there are too many high profile exceptions. Of course, there have always been bad apples and corporate scandals, but I’m talking about a pervasive decline in standards and values over the last 20-30 years that began with the deregulation and privatisation of the Thatcher era (showing my age now!)
Executive pay that in no way reflects the relative contribution of one amongst thousands, rewards for failure, tax avoidance on an industrial scale, the widespread abuse of NDAs to cover up a toxic office culture, creative or incompetent auditing, pension fund deficits…. the list of corporate malfeasance is all too familiar. It can be found in some of our supposedly most prestigious firms, not to mention not for profit organisations.
When Mrs May took office by default, she made bold statements about addressing issues of fairness, corporate governance and tax avoidance. As is generally the case with the Maybot, they have largely proved to be empty words.
It’s possible to argue that the pressure of public opinion, expressed through the media, will cause business to put its own house in order. There is some evidence of this, notably with the tech giants currently under much scrutiny. However, when you consider the scale of the problem, progress is slow and the gestures are small. Despite the evidence that there is renewed interest and growing support for alternative thinking, the business community seems to have a tin ear in facing up to public anger and anti-corruption sentiment.
I’m not for a minute suggesting that Renew should adopt a negative or hostile approach to business. What attracted me to this party is the sense of reason, moderation and pragmatism running through the policy making process. I think that business leaders are as disillusioned with the mainstream parties as the rest of the population. We can win support for policies that encourage and reward enterprise but send a clear message about responsible capitalism, provide the necessary regulatory interventions and where necessary, legislate to make it happen. We need to restore confidence in politics and business. I look forward to taking part in the policy debate.
In this opinion piece, Renew supporter George Muscat explains why you should be worried about the impact of big data on politics.
One thing that those from across the political spectrum can probably agree on is the degeneration of political discourse in our time.
Perhaps the best example of this was the abuse of Diane Abbott during the 2017 General Election campaign. The then Shadow Home Secretary received almost half of all online abuse during the campaign, being singled out on racial and gender grounds.
Shortly after the campaign, she told a parliamentary debate that she had received death and rape threats.
Abbott’s experiences align the mindless abuse of Anna Soubry by male Brexiteers outside Parliament. Indeed, it was not so long ago that Jo Cox was tragically slain by a far-right nationalist terrorist.
These are not isolated incidents. They speak to a rise in violence when voicing political views.
Let’s be clear: this is not an unavoidable hallmark of passionate debate. This vile abuse of female politicians is a disgraceful symptom of our degenerating politics.
Beating the trolls.
There is no doubt that the anonymity of social media emboldens online trolls. Fake news and online echo chambers do not lead to a balanced or informed debate.
Research has shown social media’s role in facilitating fake news. A study of the 2016 Presidential Election in the US found that popular fake news stories were shared more on social media than mainstream news stories (Silverman, 2016).
Around 7% of the US adults polled in another study admitted to having believed fake news stories during the 2016 campaign (Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017).
Those who consumed more media content were more likely to believe fake news, as were those with segregated social networks.
This suggests that there is something psychologically gratifying about sharing news stories which reinforce our preconceived positions and that social networks act as echo chambers which harden our views against each other, even when the content is false.
Fake news is only part of problem for political social media content. Highly sophisticated tools which use big data to isolate and target individuals for political advertising are employed by all major political parties.
As those of us whose entire adult lives have been spent online grow older, we move closer to a terrifying place, where tech giants know more about us than we do about ourselves.
Recent scandals about giant tech companies profiting from this data confirms the fact that these are companies motivated purely by profit. They will sell our data and their marketing tools to anyone with a fat enough cheque book.
This threatens to fundamentally undermine our democratic processes and demands strict regulation. I am deeply uncomfortable with personalised advertising appearing on my screen with a view to influencing my political choices.
After all, democracy is meant to be a system in which individuals decide for themselves what they want, not one in which our choices are subject to scientific conditioning.
Regulate, regulate, regulate
Both fake news and data-driven advertising drive us further apart and undermine our ability to make free, informed political judgements.
In a time of increasing polarisation and democratic subversion, we must act with strength and urgency against the proliferation of political content on social media. It only acts to increase the power of big tech companies and political parties over us, setting us against each other.
We need strong regulation to make companies liable for the content shared on their platforms, and above all to prevent them using our data as a lucrative product to pedal to those who will use any means available to gain political power.
By George Muscat
Renew supporter Paul Gerken breaks down all the things you didn’t know about the mysterious Will of the People.
1) ‘The Will of the People’ is a first-past-the-post system. You only need the most microscopic of majorities to be the undeniable, permanent, irrevocable ‘Will’ of all peoples. If you’re unsure what your will is, check national media (but not The Guardian, they won’t represent the ‘Will’).
2) ‘The Will of the People’ does not change, ever, which is handy because you only need to check in once, on the big issue of the day, and be done with it forever. This saves on the administrative hassle of several votes.
3) ‘The Will of the People’ is also irritable if asked the same thing twice, because even in light of lots and lots of new information, the Will does not change.
4) ‘The Will of the People’ can be conned, tricked and manipulated to any extent - legal or otherwise - but once asked, its decision is final (see above - the Will does not change.)
5) ‘The Will of the People’ doesn’t like being condescended to. It damn well knows what it wants, it knows what it’s getting itself into, it is an all-knowing, fully aware, infinitely correct omnipotent being. It can accurately see into the future.
6) ‘The Will of the People’ is slightly impatient. Just get on with it, it’s bored already.
7) The Will does not care or consult you if you are a Brit who lives in Europe. If you are a European who lives in the UK, it REALLY doesn't care.
8) ‘The Will of the People’ MAY RIOT OTHERWISE. Rioting will be for an indefinite period.
9) ‘The Will of the People’ continues post-mortem. If you expressed your Will when asked, even if you are now dead, it remains just as important today as it did then.
10) ‘The Will of the People’ conversely doesn’t accept newcomers. If you are now 18 and have a whole life of Will in front of you, you don’t count. Hopefully you might get to express your Will on another important issue, at some point. However, recent experience may mean the Will will not be consulted for its opinion again.
By Paul Gerken
With just 50 days to go until what’s shaping up to be the biggest constitutional crisis the country has ever seen, one might expect MPs’ schedules to be looking pretty busy.
After all, the UK’s statute books are still a long way off where they need to be by exit day, and a wealth of critical legislation still needs to be agreed - 500 Brexit-related statutory instruments and six outstanding Brexit bills, to be exact.
Apparently, however, the government isn’t phased by all these silly little details. That’s exactly why they decided to send Parliament home for an early tea time yesterday, after just 4 hours of business.
This comes shortly after Commons leader Andrea Leadsom cancelled MPs’ week-long recess in order to make progress on importance legislation before Brexit. But despite this, MPs headed home at 3.27pm on Wednesday - usually a jam-packed day for Parliament - in the absence of any further debates or votes scheduled for that day.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the decision for early adjournment caused a bit of a stir with opposition MPs. Labour’s Diana Johnson described the situation on Twitter as “bang out of order”, later adding: “Considering Brexit is just 51 days away this is totally irresponsible!” The SNP’s Chief Whip Patrick Gray was also quick to voice his frustration, claiming: “Seemingly the Tory government thinks there’s nothing worth debating or discussing.”
They’ve got a point.
The fact is, legislative gridlock surrounding Brexit is making it very difficult for the government to make progress. MPs are still at loggerheads following Theresa May’s crushing defeat a few weeks ago, and without a clear idea of what an agreed deal will eventually look like (or whether or not there will be one, for that matter) Brexit-related laws like the fisheries bill, agricultural bill and financial services bill are near-impossible to finalise.
But this is all just fuss about nothing. It’s not like we’re up against the clock or anything.
Brexiteers care about ordinary working people. At least, that’s what they’ll tell you.
Famously ‘men of the people’, the Brexit bandwagoners make no bones about the fact that they, alone in a sea of dusty establishment, represent the ordinary working folks whose interests are omitted by the rest of Westminster.
But, as the ancient proverb goes, actions really do speak louder than words, and Brexitnis a danger to workers in more ways than one. Rights that the EU has guaranteed to workers for years could be lost in the blink of an eye once Britain and the EU part ways on March 29th.
Perhaps the most significant legislation at risk is the EU Working Time Directive, which restricts the working week to 48 hours, as well as guaranteeing workers with sick pay, weekends and holiday pay. Without it, workers could be forced to work ridiculously long hours, and 7 million people (including 4.7 million women and many on zero-hours contracts) could lose their rights to paid holidays. According to the TUC, workers could also see rights to lunch time and rest breaks slashed, and night workers might lose health and security protections. We can also kiss goodbye to EU laws protecting equal value work, pay and conditions for outsourced workers, and equal treatment for people in insecure jobs.
Mrs May has reiterated time and time again that workers’ rights will be protected after Brexit, but decisions made by her cabinet so far tell another story altogether. It may be true that EU equality, employment and health and safety standards will remain in place on exit day, but there are no legal guarantees to prevent successive governments from discarding them entirely further down the line.
Indeed, a number of her cabinet ministers fought pretty hard to scrap the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights from UK law on the day we leave. Many of its provisions, including the free-standing right to non-discrimination, are not enshrined in UK law. A Whitehall impact assessment also highlighted workers’ protections as a prime target area for ‘maximising regulatory opportunities’ after Brexit.
It’s hardly surprising that Tory policy has been heading down this path given the vast number of MPs and ministers who are openly opposed to protecting workers’ rights. Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg (to name but a few) have argued for years for the ‘burden’ of workplace regulation to be scrapped. Apparently exploitation is the key to a thriving economy - who knew?
Rees-Mogg has often sung the praises of zero-hours contracts. According to the man himself, “the model of the flint-faced Victorian employer grinding the poor was never particularly accurate, but today such an image is even more false.”
Hmm. It seems that a history degree from Oxford doesn’t feature the 19th century as part of the course...
But panic not! According to a source quoted by the Sun, “This is what taking back control is all about […] It will put the power to decide how hard to work back into the hands of the people who matter - the ordinary British worker.”
Accurate, I’m sure. Forget labouring at your employer’s beck and call for dismal wages - zero-hours contracts are giving power back to the people!
In this opinion piece, Renew supporter Emma Rome puts forward a case for federalisation in the United Kingdom.
Recently, Ben Carpenter wrote about the concept of English devolution on this website, framing it in the context of Brexit. He correctly notes how devolution has given Scotland some benefits, such as unlimited Sunday trading hours, free prescriptions and free eye tests.
He also rightly suggests that England is at the mercy of Whitehall. But Scotland is too, albeit to a lesser extent. And Wales. And Northern Ireland. This is the nature of the centralised government we have.
That said, Scotland and Wales both enjoy a certain amount of devolution. Despite that, it's often said that, on average, England gets the better end of the deal compared to the other countries that make up the United Kingdom. It's also unfortunately true that many communities just south of the Scottish border aren't doing so well compared to Scotland.
But simply offering a devolved "parliament for England" as a counterpoint to the Scottish and Welsh ones would miss the bigger picture.
Let's consider one sector - transport investment by the government. London receives almost three times as much investment per person in its transport infrastructure than any other UK region.
London has two unique factors that partly justify this. Tourists will almost always include London as part of their visit, since it’s the capital. Thanks to the way the statistical regions have been drawn up, London's commuter population includes substantially more than the population actually within that region. However, this problem has been made worse by Boris Johnson, who made one of his goals as Mayor of London to increase London's population to its highest ever number (in February 2015, London's population broke its previous record high set in 1939). Large high-density cities are disproportionately expensive to create effective transport systems for and inevitably create additional health, employment, and social inequality issues for residents as well.
To be sure, as the national capital, London should have a bit more investment than other places. Tourism is after all one of Britain's major sources of foreign revenue.
But other regions of the UK have long been starved of investment. And this has to end. We need a new way of thinking about investing in the country.
It's the nature of government to centralise power, at least in the UK. This is why Westminster and Whitehall have a long tradition of focusing investment in London and the South East. They invest in London because of its large population, and individuals then move there because that's where the investment is. This creates a feedback loop that, left unchecked, causes the social inequality we have now. Inevitably, underinvestment in places far from London and an inability to make their political voices heard feeds independence movements and disillusionment with democracy, encouraging lower voter turnouts.
But simply creating a "parliament for England" won't really solve this problem.
Let's suppose this parliament is based in Birmingham, or in Manchester. Realistically, that city will become a new centre for business, quite likely with its major airport receiving new development and better transport links. But it won't help the other major cities in England. The UK has room for more than just one world-class city, or even two.
So what do we do? We federalise. Rather than our present centralised form of government, we should devolve power to the most local level where it can be meaningfully applied.
Before we thought of the United Kingdom as a union of England and Scotland, England was a country formed of a union between Wessex, Mercia, and others. This would be a useful level to devolve power to, ensuring investment gets distributed properly.
England could, for administrative purposes, be split into a small number of multi-county regions. For example, perhaps the divisions could be Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia, Greater Sussex, and London. This roughly follows the lines of Britain's early English kingdoms. These could have devolved powers broadly similar to what Scotland has (and Wales and Northern Ireland could have the same). In fact, these devolved powers should go much further, to include full responsibility for transport investment, with the ability to run a bus network, commission new railway lines, plus business development incentives and maybe even the ability to raise taxes. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland should have similar powers within their jurisdictions.
It's only right to devolve power if we want investment across England to be governed responsively to the needs of each region. And it's only right that we give the other countries that make up the United Kingdom the same ability to empower themselves that England would have.
Without such subdivision, any devolved power for England as a single entity would result in a continuation of the same ‘London first’ investment policy that we currently have.
By Emma Rome
Here we explore the future of electric cars in the UK and how to make this revolution work.
The UK government has pledged to halve the sale of non-electric vehicles by 2030 and eliminate them altogether by 2040. So it’s time to think about how we can make this work for Britain.
Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have grown sharply over recent years, reaching a record high in August 2018 when they accounted for one in every 12 car sales. However, EVs still account for a very small proportion of total car ownership - there are currently around 182,000 plug-in cars on the roads in the UK compared with the 37.5m vehicles registered for use on UK roads in 2017.
A lack of infrastructure is the most significant barrier to further uptake. There are around 17,000 public charging points in the UK at present, with around 100,000 domestic points. According to planning experts, existing infrastructure will be unable to cope with the predicted surge in numbers of electric vehicles. The current approach to rolling out infrastructure is fragmented, and there has been little progress in the way of an overarching plan of how preparatory infrastructure will work together. For that reason, we should commit to the speedy installation of charging points and and budget for it as a priority. In July last year, the government sought a mandate to roll out ‘hundreds or thousands’ of new charging points outside homes, offices and on residential streets in a bid to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK, but this process needs to happen much more quickly if we are to reach our climate goals.
The national grid must also be able to cope with large numbers of people charging their vehicles simultaneously. Problems are most likely to arise in areas of high population density, where cabling upgrades and substation reinforcement could potentially be used to double capacity.
The switch to EVs from conventional vehicles will doubtless bring a number of significant benefits to both the UK environment and economy. According to the National Infrastructure Commission, battery powered cars, even those that run off electricity derived from conventional sources, could save the UK £8bn per year by 2030 because EVs are substantially more energy efficient than petrol or diesel-powered cars. It is estimated that electrification reduces energy usage by up to 50%. Removing reliance on fossil fuels for road transport will also help improve the UK’s energy security by reducing dependency on oil-producing nations. The UK currently has a £5bn trade deficit in conventional vehicles, but rapid uptake of EVs opens the possibility for the UK to become a net vehicle exporter.
Another incentive for electrifying road transport is the reduction in air pollution, which is currently responsible for around 40,000 deaths in the UK per year, 9000 of which are in London. An Oxford University report found that pollution from road traffic is estimated to cost the NHS around £6bn in health damages per year, with diesel vehicles being the most damaging. Electric hybrid vehicles are up to 20 times less damaging to health than diesel vehicles.
Though upgrades to charging and grid infrastructure will cost a projected £1bn per year by 2022, the majority of this will be private expenditure. However, government policy and investment must go further in supporting this revolution.
Firstly, a strong domestic market is crucial if vehicle uptake is to justify high levels of private investment. Hence the government’s pledge to end sales of non-EVs by 2040, though we would consider moving this forward to 2030 to accelerate this process. Norway and India have already announced bans on conventional vehicles beginning in 2025 and 2030 respectively. Investing further in battery technology will help ensure the UK maintains its global lead in EV design, though investment in production is equally important. Emphasis should be placed on fleet vehicles in particular, which make up more than half of all vehicle sales in the UK. Tax incentives, emissions standards, production targets as well as improvements to charging infrastructure will be crucial in supporting the development of large private EV fleets.
The stage is set for a bold force to transform the way we travel up and down the UK. As a group with no vested interests, we think Renew is best placed to become the revolutionaries to spearhead this green future.