The recent action day held in Cardiff by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), was deemed “very successful” by the supporters who collected signatures on a petition to scrap the 5p carrier bag tax introduced by the Welsh Government on 1st October 2011.
The petition, which gathered over 150 signatures in less than an hour, is to be handed into the government at a “later date”, in the hope that they will rethink the plastic bag charge and consider the problems it is creating for small businesses and retailers.
Introduced to cut down the “excessive use” of single use carrier bags, the 5p tax may well make consumers think twice before discarding their supermarket carrier bags and, therefore, reduce the demand, but it also adds a heavy burden on small traders who are forced to comply or face a fine of up to £5,000.
The Welsh Government has already hit back with a spokesperson stating “this is not a tax, no money from the charge will come to the Welsh Government but will instead be passed on to good causes by retailers”, which leaves many small retailers asking why this ‘charge’ has been passed as law, and not left for the consumer to decide.
With over 300 million single use carrier bags reaching the landfill in 2009, it is clear that the public need to reduce their reliance on plastic bags, but who should be footing the bill?
As many large supermarket chains in Wales report a “90% reduction” in the use of single use carrier bags since the tax was introduced, others, such as the Co-Operative, have argued against it in the past “citing evidence” that paper bags are more of an environmental concern than plastic bags, and that raises a whole new argument.
So, it seems the carrier bag charge is not going to go away anytime soon, but the TPA message remains clear – ban the tax, not the carrier bag, and give the consumer back their right to decide!
If you would like any more information about the 5p Carrier Bag Tax or want to speak with one of our Sales team please call 01234 712121 or fill in the contact form at the top of this page.