Monday, 17 August 2009

Retailers want a scrappage scheme for fridges

Marcus Leroux, Retail Correspondent
Retailers are seeking a scrappage project for domestic appliances such as fridges. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that a plan similar to the “cash for bangers” scheme for the car trade would protect jobs and help Britain to hit carbon emission targets by encouraging people to switch to more energy-efficient white goods. It is also calling for tax relief on energyefficient items.
Sales of big-ticket electrical items have fallen during the recession. DSG, the owner of Currys, the electrical goods chain, lost £140 million in its latest year, after a 9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales.
Stephen Robertson, the director-general of the BRC, said: “The Government is working against its own objectives when it sets targets for reducing carbon emisssions while charging full VAT on the efficient products that will move us towards those targets ... Removing VAT and exploring the possibility of a scrappage scheme would do a lot to get old energy and water-squandering appliances out of people’s homes.”
The BRC says that its idea would cost £507 million a year in forgone VAT, equivalent to two weeks of the bill for cutting VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent last year. Removing VAT from the most energy-efficient goods would cut domestic emissions by 1 per cent, according to work done by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for the BRC.
Britain has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 34 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.