Green tax on shopping bags considered

It is understood, environment minister Michael Meacher has been following a scheme in the Republic of Ireland where, since March, supermarkets have charged for bags usually handed out free. The move has seen the number of bags issued fall by 97.5%.

The tax, predicted by Accountancy Age in April, would be a green levy issued to supermarkets who would in turn pass it on to consumers.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Meacher was ‘interested’ in a similar scheme for the UK – although no commitment or time period have been formulated.

There are concerns about the 10 billion plastic bags – at a cost of £1bn – that are routinely handed over by supermarkets, with most ending up in landfill sites.

Asda said it was ‘in everyone’s interest’, and Tesco commented it was important that environmental targets were reached.

Tenon economist, Maurice Fitzpatrick, said: ‘This tax is a good example of taxing bads rather than goods.’

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