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Plastic Bags: Taxation

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to exempt plastic bags made from biodegradable film from the proposed plastic bag tax. (202677)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget on 12 March that we will introduce legislation to require retailers to impose a charge on single-use carrier bags from 2009, if retailers have not achieved a substantial reduction in the number of bags distributed on a voluntary basis.

The criteria for the types of bags subject to the charge, and any appropriate exemptions, will be a matter for secondary legislation. This will be consulted on beforehand.

However, as the purpose of the proposed charge is to reduce the numbers of all types of single-use carrier bags being distributed, there are no current plans to exempt bags made from biodegradable film.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether plastic bags manufactured before the start date for any plastic bag tax will be subject to the tax. (202678)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget on 12 March that we will introduce legislation to require retailers to impose a charge on single-use carrier bags from 2009, if retailers have not achieved a substantial reduction in the number of bags distributed on a voluntary basis.

The criteria for the types of bags subject to the charge, and any appropriate exemptions, will be a matter for secondary legislation. This will be consulted on beforehand.

However, as one of the aims of the proposed charge is to change consumers' behaviour by ensuring that they have to pay a small—but meaningful—charge every time they accept a single-use bag, there are no current plans to exempt bags on the basis of the date on which they were manufactured.