The British Retail Consortium has called on the Government to introduce a domestic appliance scrappage scheme similar to the car industry scrappage scheme in the UK.
The BRC wants the Government to waive the 15 per cent VAT on white goods such as fridges and washing machines when customers trade up. The body claims it will encourage consumers to replace old energy consuming appliances with greener versions and stimulate the economy.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: The Governments working against its own objectives when it sets targets for reducing carbon emissions while charging full VAT on the efficient products that will move us towards those targets.
Retailers are doing their bit to cut carbon but homes are responsible for 27 per cent of the nations emissions. Helping householders improve their performance has to be the next step.
A modern, efficient fridge-freezer uses less than half the energy of a 1995 model. Over its lifetime it can pay for itself but having to find the cost up front puts customers off upgrading particularly in a recession.
Removing VAT and exploring the possibility of a scrappage scheme would do a lot to get old energy and water-squandering appliances out of peoples homes.
The news comes as electrical giant Sony has recently announced that customers who return old TVs will be offered up to £150 off the cost of new set.
The Daily Mail (19 August) reported that customers who take advantage of its scrappage scheme will get £50 off small Bravia sets, £100 off a 40 inch set and £150 off any of its largest screens.
Sony also hopes to profit from the Governments decision to switch off analogue TV signals in favour of digital broadcasts, as it is expected that more people will buy a newer set. The BRC claims that the Government could offer incentives during the digital switchover, through the reduction or elimination of VAT on energy efficient products.
Image: WE5 model of Sony TV