High Streets Initiative · 10 January 2018

A universal 5p plastic bag charge would be welcomed by local shop owners

The carrier bag charge has contributed to a 90 per cent reduction in usage since introduced in 2015
The carrier bag charge has contributed to a 90 per cent reduction in usage since introduced in 2015
An organisation representing the UK’s local convenience stores has backed government proposals to extend the 5p plastic bag charge to every small shop in England.

A 5plevy on plastic carrier bags was introduced to England in October 2015 after successful schemes in Wales and Scotland, but has so far only applied to businesses with over 250 employees. Paper bags are exempt from the charge, as are plastic bags bought at airports or on trains.

Now, prime minister Theresa May has indicated that wider introduction of the levyto smaller high street and local businesses will be a key part ofthe government’s 25-year environment plan, due to be unveiled on Thursday 11 January.

Welcomingits potential universal roll-out, James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), a body representing over£33, 500 local shops, outlined dual benefits ofthe 5p charge.

the 5p carrier bag charge is an effective way of significantly reducing the number of bags in circulation whilst also providing retailers with a way of raising money for local charities, he explained.

we have long campaigned for the charge to be extended to all retailers in England, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales, and would welcome steps to make the charge universal.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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