Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is broadening the scope of the scrappage scheme ahead of the expansion of ULEZ – the Ultra Low Emission Zone – to outer London boroughs in August.
Under the terms of today’s announcement, around half-a-million people living in outer London who receive child benefit will be able to apply for financial assistance from next month under the revised scheme.
And small businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees – not just sole traders and micro businesses – will be eligible. Charities operating in London will be allowed to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses instead of just one.
There will also be special support targeted to care workers.
The announcement comes, at least in part, in response to calls from some MPs, including Croydon Central’s Sarah Jones, who have sought wider levels of support for the 10per cent of drivers in outer London boroughs who use non-compliant vehicles.
“Having listened to feedback over recent months and his determination to support as many Londoners as possible to transition to cleaner vehicles, the Mayor has announced the scheme run by Transport for London will be extended,” the Mayor’s office announced this morning.
The changes include:
- Allowing all Londoners receiving child benefit to apply. There are currently 874,710 London families in receipt of child benefit, with 578,315 in outer London
- Allowing businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees to apply. Currently, only those with up to 10 staff can apply
- Allowing charities operating in London to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses instead of just one
- A new grace period for sole traders, microbusinesses, small businesses and registered charities who have ordered brand-new compliant vehicles, but have been informed that delivery will be delayed past August 29 when the larger zone goes live – or if they have booked an approved retrofit appointment for a non-compliant light van or minibus before that date
“The scrappage scheme will be kept under ongoing review and the Mayor has also asked TfL to actively monitor applications from care workers to ensure they are benefiting from the money available,” City Hall said in announcing the new moves.
The vast majority of vehicles in the capital are already ULEZ-compliant, so most Londoners are unaffected by the expansion of the zone and will not need to pay the ULEZ charge. Data shows that 9-in-10 cars, and around 8-in-10 vans seen driving in the zone on an average day are already compliant.
The scrappage scheme was launched in January, using a fund of £110million to support London-based smaller businesses, sole traders and charities, Londoners on lower incomes and disabled Londoners to replace their older, more polluting vehicles.
But yesterday, Croydon MP Jones joined a growing number of Labour parliamentary colleagues asking for Mayor Khan to look again at the help being offered.
“Air pollution is a real concern in London,” Jones said.
“I support the principles of the ULEZ and welcome the Mayor’s scrappage scheme, but worry that constituents on low incomes and with small businesses will be impacted. I’m calling on the Mayor to expand the scheme.”
By expanding the scrappage scheme to those who receive child benefit, TfL is now including London parents who individually earn up to £30,000 per year. The scheme is already open to Londoners on other benefits, such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment.
“The majority of vehicles in London are already ULEZ compliant and will not have to pay anything,” Mayor Khan said.
“But I completely understand the concerns of people who may not have a compliant vehicle and are worried about how they’ll make the transition.
“We already have the biggest-ever scrappage scheme in place to support Londoners on low incomes, London-based micro-businesses and charities and disabled Londoners. But I’ve listened to families and small businesses in outer London who want more support and I’m pleased to be able to announce today a major expansion to the scheme run by TfL to ensure we can help them.
“Anyone receiving child benefit and all small businesses in London will now be able to apply for thousands of pounds of support from the end of July. The current scheme can already help couples in London earning up to £40,000 per year, and the expanded scheme will be open to all families claiming child benefit, which supports those earning under £50,000 the most.
“Expanding the ULEZ was an incredibly difficult decision for me. But with toxic air damaging the health of millions of Londoners and the need to tackle the climate crisis, I believe the cost of inaction would simply be far too high a price to pay.
“The ULEZ has been proven to work, already reducing toxic air pollution by nearly half in central London. Expanding it London-wide will help ensure five million more Londoners can breathe cleaner air and our bigger scrappage scheme will mean we can help thousands of families and small businesses make the transition to greener, cleaner vehicles.”
Once live, the London-wide ULEZ expansion will bring the benefits of the ULEZ to a further 5million in outer London, where more than half of the air pollution-attributable deaths occur.
Today’s announcement was welcomed by business figures.
“It’s a positive step forward that a significant number of small businesses will now be included in the ULEZ vehicle scrappage scheme,” said Richard Burge, from the London Chamber of Commerce.
So far, under the existing ULEZ scrappage scheme:
Overall, 6,892 applications have been approved, with £25,372,800 committed to date.
- 3,035 car and motorcycle applications have been approved, committing £5,702,800 of funding
- 3,857 van and minibus applications have been approved, committing another £19,670,000. The grants for vans and minibuses are higher than cars and motorcycles, reflecting the higher purchase cost
- 2,311 Londoners on low-income benefits have had applications approved, worth £4,313,600
- 724 Londoners in receipt of disability benefits, totalling £1,389,200
- 48 charities have had their applications approved, totalling £288,500 in grants
- 1,800 micro businesses have had their applications approved, totalling £9,217,500
- 2,009 sole traders have had their applications approved, totalling £10,164,000
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