Brown predicts 'green' Budget

* PM's pledge of electric future * Electric car trials in three UK cities * Brown wants electric fleet for ministers...

Brown predicts 'green' Budget

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to help the UK's ailing economy by placing electric and hybrid petrol-electric hybrid vehicles at the forefront of a 'greener Britain'.

The Prime Minister has hinted that trials of electric cars, using a network of roadside charging points, and incentives for manufacturers building environmentally friendly vehicles will be announced in the budget on April 22.

Mr Brown also confirmed that the Government is considering plans to introduce a scrappage scheme, which many car industry leaders believe to be essential if the UK's car makers are to survive the economic downturn.

However, the Premier also warned that there would be little room for other financial stimulus, which could pave the way for increased fuel duty and road tax charges.

The trials of electric vehicles are likely to start in 2010, taking place in up to three cities throughout the UK.

The Independent newspaper reports than councils will be invited to submit proposals to become the first of Britain's "green cities".

The Prime Minister also said he would consider buying a fleet of electric cars for cabinet ministers, allowing the Government to lead from the front.

Mr Brown also told the paper that creating a low-carbon economy in the UK would create up to 400,000 jobs by 2017.