Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 11:59 UK

60,000 take up car scrappage cash

Scrapped cars
The government wants people to scrap their old cars and buy new ones

More than 60,000 orders for cars under the UK's scrappage subsidy scheme have been placed since the initiative was announced, new government figures show.

Car buyers are given a £2,000 discount on a new car if they scrap one that is at least 10 years old.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said the scheme had given the carmaking industry the boost it needed.

The scrappage scheme was announced at the end of April and the latest figures cover orders from then until 7 June.

Lord Mandelson said: "Consumers know a good deal when they see one. These figures speak for themselves."

The scheme will run until March 2010 and to benefit from it, a buyer must have been the registered keeper, for at least 12 months, of the car that is due to be scrapped.

Half the scheme's cash will be paid for by the government, with manufacturers contributing the rest.

The government has set aside £300m to pay for the scheme, which could benefit up to 300,000 customers.

A similar scheme was introduced in Germany earlier this year.

UK Benefits?

There have been criticisms that the UK scheme is merely helping to bail out troubled car makers from Europe, the US and East Asia.

But the chief executive of the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Paul Everitt, said: "The benefits of this scheme go beyond imported vehicles, and help and sustain jobs in our sector."

He said the SMMT would be watching closely over the next few months to see how much of the government pool of money was being taken up by consumers.

Only then would the SMMT decide whether to ask for an extension of the scheme or not.

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