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London cabbies join campaign to cut charging tax

London’s black cab drivers have joined forces with leading charging provider InstaVolt to call for more help to go electric.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents the majority of black cab drivers in London, wants the government to cut VAT on public charging to 5% to help reduce costs for drivers.

Since 2018 all newly licensed cabs have had to have zero emissions capability and just under 60% of London’s black cab fleet is already zero emission capable electric taxis. But the LTDA says that charging costs and a lack of public charging points remain an obstacle for drivers.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, said: “Well over half of London’s black cabs are now electric but the shortage of rapid public charging points and rising cost of charging remain barriers to wider uptake of electric taxis.

“Reducing the VAT on public charging, bringing it into line with home chargers, would help level the playing field for those drivers unable to charge at home as well as supporting drivers with mounting operating costs.”

To support the black cabs drivers’ campaign, InstaVolt is cutting the price at its London chargers by 15% for a month.

Launching the promotion at its brand-new Syon Park superhub, Simon Smith, InstaVolt’s chief commercial officer, commented: “Cabbies are busy people for whom quite literally time is money and they need ready access to reliable charging solutions so they can get back on the road as quickly as possible.

“We are delighted to be supporting the black cab drivers in their fight for lower prices for on-street public charging by self-removing 15% of our charging cost, effectively leaving a 5% element inline with the VAT for home charging.”

The latest calls come just days after the government appeared to rule out any change to charging VAT. In response to a House of Lords committee report into EV adoption, it said it rejected the suggestion of cutting tax on public charging as it would put additional pressure on public finances.

Transport campaigner and founder of FairCharge, Quentin Willson, who met with cabbies and IntsaVolt representatives, said: “Affordability is one of the key levers to mass EV adoption. I’m really encouraged to see InstaVolt symbolically reduce their prices, to reflect the difference a VAT cut would make, and for the LTDA and all their EV cab drivers to join the campaign. Hopefully this will help the Treasury appreciate that reducing the tax on electricity for public EV charging is an important lever for increasing EV adoption.”

AA president Edmund King is supporting the calls for a tax cut. He added: “It is unfair that black cab drivers, and others without access to off-street parking, should pay four times as much VAT on charging as those fortunate enough to be able to charge at home. We are pleased that InstaVolt are supporting the campaign for change.”

Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.

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