Scrappage Scheme for Greener Goods
The car "scrappage scheme" (vehicle discount scheme) was introduced in the UK some months back to encourage people to trade in old cars for new. Anyone owning a car aged 10 years or older can get a good discount, around £2000 or so, off a new vehicle.
Whilst the environmental credentials of such a scheme are a little thin when compared to the economic impetus that was intended (remember, the scrappage scheme was dreamt-up in the midst of a recession when the new car industry in this country took a major downturn) the green benefits are indeed there to some degree.
Modern household appliances could be next to benefit from the "scrappage scheme" if the idea is applied to white goods, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). They say that by scrapping VAT on the most efficient appliances households would be encouraged to buy greener goods. This, say the BRC, would cut household carbon emissions by 1% by 2020, removing 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year by that time. It's not a lot but every little counts.
The cost of such a scheme is estimated to cost around £500 million, but the BRC point out that that is a similar amount to how much VAT was lost in just 2 months since December 2008 when the Chancellor dropped VAT from 17.5% to 15%.
The benefits to households cutting their energy costs is certainly appealing. A 1% cut in carbon emissions is not much but 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere is good. The production and transportation of these new efficient appliances would need to be considered especially seeing as the UK probably doesn't have much left in the way of refridgerator, washing machine and cooking appliance manufacturing these days (considering so many consumer goods are produced in China!)
With new appliance being twice as efficient as models from 10 years ago, environmentally-conscious customers would certainly see the benefit in a scheme of this nature, and smaller retailers, like local high street stores, certainly need a boost when competing with the larger superstores, but how this will pan out we have yet to see...