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Government says ‘no’ to bag tax… for now

By Anthony Clark
Posted 7 February 2013

The government has given a strong indication that it does not support a mandatory plastic bag tax, for now at least – a decision that will be warmly welcomed by the UK’s plastics industry.

Ministers had previously expressed their interest in the results reported in both Wales and the Republic of Ireland, where bag levies have cut consumption by 90%-plus.

However, despite Liberal Democrat support for the measure, a bag tax has been nudged into the political long grass – Richard Benyon, the Conservative environment minister, said the idea was “not the best option”, given the current pressures on domestic budgets.

But the stay in legislation could be short-lived. “We are currently assessing various measures to reduce the distribution of single use carrier bags.

"This includes monitoring the results of the single-use carrier bag charging scheme in Wales, Northern Ireland’s plan to launch a charge from April 2013 and the outcome of the Scottish consultation on a charge.”

A summary of responses to the government’s consultation on single use carrier bag regulations can be found here.


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