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UK’s 2020 budget includes EV grants, £500M for EV supercharging network

The UK’s chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak presented Britain’s 2020 budget yesterday in Parliament. Here’s what the majority Conservative Party announced about EVs, green energy, and the environment.

The budget included the following:

  • £500 million to be spent over the next five years on an EV supercharging network.
  • The current EV-purchase grant has been extended to 2023, which is worth £403 million. However, the current grant of up to £3,500 will be cut to £3,000 starting today. The grant is no longer available on cars costing more than £50,000.
  • Removed the tax break on red diesel (diesel dyed red to identify it for non-motoring functions). However, agriculture, fish farming, and rail aren’t losing subsidies just yet.
  • £300 million to tackle air pollution.
  • Tax on electricity is being reduced and tax on natural gas is being increased.
  • The energy research and development budget is being doubled to £1 billion.
  • There’s a new tax of £200 per tonne on plastic items containing less than 30% recycled plastic.
  • For climate-crisis resiliency, spending on flood defenses will be doubled, with a further £5.2 billion to protect more than 300,000 homes over the next six years.
  • A new Nature for Climate Fund was announced, which gets £640 million to preserve peat bogs and woodlands.
  • 30,000 hectares of trees will be planted over five years.
  • Two carbon-capture clusters will be funded for up to £800 million.

The not-so-good?

There was no taxation change for the fossil-fuel industry, and fuel duty remains frozen. Further, there was no mention of improving domestic energy efficiency. Also, many aren’t happy about £27 billion for new roads, because they feel it will encourage people to choose cars over public transport faster than EVs can be adopted, thus increasing emissions.

Electrek’s Take

A new national infrastructure strategy, encompassing hundreds of billions of pounds in public- and private-sector spending on green energy, transport and communications, has been postponed to later this spring. So hopefully, the British government will address the issues they missed in yesterday’s budget, including a plan for new roads without increasing emissions.

Fossil-fuel companies do need to be taxed, and the UK has a lot of old, drafty houses (I’ve lived in many) that need to be made more energy-efficient and heated with another source besides natural gas. Heating with electric is very expensive in the UK, so lowering electricity’s tax was a good move.

While we understand and agree with the reasons why groups such as Greenpeace aren’t happy about the new roads scheme, the UK needs to continue to improve its public transport, as it’s expensive and overcrowded. There needs to be a lot of incentives to switch to EVs and take public transport (which should all be converted to electric asap).

And seeing how the UK has banned the sales of ICE cars from 2035, that EV charging network is a must, so it was a good move.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.