During the Easter Recess, MP’s will have set themselves a number of challenges.
None more daunting that that which confronts Alastair Darling, who will be focussing on his Budget on April 22nd. He has three objectives. To save the planet; to save the pound; and to save Gordon Brown.
I can reveal exclusively here some paragraphs from the Budget Statement
“Many commentators have urged on me a scrappage scheme for vehicles over nine years old. The most powerful advocates of the scheme have been my honourable friends from the West Midlands, who were returned at the last election with modest majorities. This scrappage scheme has been successfully introduced in Germany by Angela Merkel; but I am nonetheless prepared to consider it.”
“There are powerful environmental arguments for removing from our roads older vehicles with high CO2 emissions and replacing them with newer ones with better performance. An incentive of £2000 per vehicle has been proposed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The House will be aware of my forecast of next year’s Budget deficit, and my judgement is we cannot afford £2000 per vehicle. If I am honest, we cannot afford £2000.”
“I am therefore introducing the scheme with a significant amendment. Every owner of a nine year old vehicle that is presented under my scrappage scheme will be given a new car. However, that vehicle will have been removed from the executive car park of one of our banks. No compensation will be paid, as these cars are already in effect in public ownership. This refinement has the advantage over the German scheme of avoiding the consumption of scarce resources and energy in the production of a new car, with the added environmental benefit of reducing the number of cars on our roads. Those deprived of their vehicles will be given a bicycle.”
“However, the scheme as proposed would not have the employment creating features of the German scheme, so I am proposing a further amendment.”
“Before the replacement car is handed over to its new owner, it will be dismantled into its component parts under strict supervision by those serving Community Punishment Orders in the relevant area. The parts will then be delivered to those car assembly plants currently on short-time working, where they will be re-assembled, tested and handed over to their new owners. Accessories which I deem to be luxurious, such as the Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy, will not be included in the re-assembled vehicles”
“Should the take-up of the scheme exceed my expectations, I will consider whether vehicles from the Ministerial Car Pool might provide an additional source of supply and possibly cars in the House of Commons Car Park.”
“I commend my statement to the House.”