Plastic bag charging scheme

The Government is planning to bring in a 5p charge on single use plastic bags in England from next year, following similar moves in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In Wales, a 5p charge has reduced the number of carrier bags given out by 75%. Northern Ireland has also introduced the charge, and Scotland will do so later in the year.

But in England, Defra has made the rules replica watches uk super complicated. Shops will be able to give away paper bags or reusable plastic “bags for life” for free.

Crucially, businesses with fewer than 250 employees will still be able to give away plastic bags replica watches uk for free. The move is designed not to punish small businesses, but we’ve already spot replica watches uk ted two loopholes:

Chains which operate a franchise system might be able to wriggle out of replica watches uk the legislation by claiming individual franchises employ fewer than 250 people.

It isn’t clear to us that Mother Nature would agree that some non biodegradable plastic bags are more worthy than others and have less of an impact on the environment.

Plastic bag charges

Wales will become the first nation in the UK to introduce charging for one trip carrier bags to curb their use. During an consultation earlier this year, concerns were raised about how funds from the charges would be used and how it would affect sections o replica watches uk f society.Conservative environment spokeswoman Angela Burns said such measures were “important in changing consumer behaviour, reducing litter and improving t replica watches uk he environment”.She urged the cost to be 5p, and said when Ireland set that level there was an 80% cut in the use of bags.Tories also want some of the money raised to go on projects to promote walking and cycling, “improving the nation’s health and the environment at the same time”.Before Ms Davidson made her announcement, Vivienne Sugar, chair of Consumer Focus Wales, said: “We are concerned about the possible impact a charge will have on lower income groups.”We also feel that in order for consumers to be confident this charge is used effectively for the benefit of the environment, the use of an independent body to administer the money is key.”We recognise that Welsh ministers do not currently have the power to say where any money raised from a charge should go, and strongly urge that current plans to change the law in this regard are prioritised.”The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said customers should be encouraged to change, and not “clobbered” with new “taxes”.But Ms Davidson said the evidence showed that “introducing a charge works”.”Ikea and Marks Spencer already charge for bags and they have seen reductions of between 80% and 90%,” she said.The minister said reta replica watches uk ilers would collect and distribute money raised under a voluntary agreement, after their administrative costs had been covered.”Net receipts will then be passed directly replica watches uk to environmental projects from retailers and would not therefore be passed either to the assembly government or a third party body,” Ms Davidson added.She said ministers would seek reserve powers to “back up” the voluntary arrangements, should they decide the agreement had not delivered “sufficient results”.Search term:BBC navigation News Sport Weather Capital TV Radio MoreCBBC CBeebies Comedy Food History Learning Music Science Nature Local Northern Ireland Scotland Wales Full A Z of BBC sitesBBC links Mobile site Terms of Use About the BBC Advertise With Us Privacy Accessibility Help Ad Choices Cookies Contact the BBC Parental GuidanceBBC 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.This page is best viewed in an up to date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Plastic bag charge

ONCE upon a time, the arrival of the plastic bag was a huge convenience. No more struggling with shopping baskets and bags whose wicker and hessian was falling apart just pop everything into the new bag kindly provided by the shop and wander happily home.

Now the plastic bag, or more particularly the thin insubstantial ones provided by supermarkets, has become a huge inconvenience. Stray ones litter the roadsides, festoon bushes and garland trees. More perniciously, they are a life threatening hazard to animals and fish.

Now, thankfully, the Scottish Government, after much foot dragging, has followed leads set in Wales, Northern Ireland and elsewhere in Europe and decided that, from September 2014, shops will have to charge 5p for every bag a shopper demands. The likelihood is that demand for bags will plummet in Wales, bag issuance has dropped by 80 per cent since the levy was introduced. Online comments since the measure was announced suggest that many people regard this as a burdensome imposition by a busybody government. Experience from elsewhere, however, says that people rapidly adjust to the idea of reusing their own bags when they go shopping.

Scottish retailers, it is true, have made their own efforts to encourage their customers to reuse bags. This, they say, has cut the use of non reusable bags by some 30 per cent.

But such is the nuisance caused by plastic bags and the despoilation of townscape and countryside by those carelessly discarded, the government is right to introduce this measure.

Presumably because they are fearful that there may be some public backlash against this levy we note that it will come into force after the independence referendum ministers have decided it will not be a tax raising measure for public coffers. Instead, it will be a levy that retailers are expected to pass on to charity. Some 5 million is expected to be raised, money which no doubt many charities will welcome. But what charities? Since the plastic bag has done replica watches uk much damage replica watches uk to the environment, surely the money ought to be earmarked for measures that might repair the damage.

There are other questions. What will the small retailer, who might collect as little as 5 a week, do? Will such businesses have to garner receipts from charities to prove that they have passed on the money? And, finally, what constitutes a bag? Will this measure cover, say, a paper bag with a pastry in it from a coffee shop or even one that contains one of the many popular Gregg’s products? The Scottish Government is unclear and should clarify this point immediately.

Although a sound idea in principle, these questions suggest that the plastic bag tax could become festooned with red tape and become a burden to business. Ministers should bag and bin any such bureaucracy, and make this as simple as possible.

Let the taxman chase down our debt

Public spiritedness is routinely supposed to be in perpetual decline, yet what more dramatic evidence that it is alive and well could there be than in the revelation that, over the past decade, members of the public have donated 2.7 million to the government to help pay down the national debt.

It is magnificent, touching, but, we fear, verging on the futile as the total sum donated amounts to about 0.00025 per cent of the total outstanding government debt and only a slightly less minute slice of annual public borrowing. The money has been given both by bequest and by donations from living people. We can only imagine and marvel at the thought processes that lie behind these gestures.

Is it because the donors want to do a little bit to alleviate the burden on future generations?

Are they so worried by stories of trillions being borrowed by the government that they feel it is their duty to help lift the worry that their fellow citizens must be sharing?

Or might there just be the occasional guilty conscience tha replica watches uk t full dues have not been paid and which is being salved in this way? This last thought points to a way that the government might make better use of these donations, rather than just shaving off a wafer thin sliver from the national debt mountain.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to use the money to set up a unit of taxmen whose job is to investigate the ways that corporations, especially multinational ones, escape paying taxes that other companies dutifully stump up, and then go on to rewrite the law so that full dues are paid.

That would give real point to these donations.

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