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Plastic Packaging Tax

Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 5 September 2023

In April this year the Government announced that we would conduct a formal review of the plastic packaging tax through analysis of environmental and tax data and customer research to assess the impact of the measure. More information about the evaluation will be published later this year.

I am pleased to share that a business in my Eastbourne constituency has made many important changes in the way it operates in order to meet its own environmental ambitions, but when it comes to the transportation of food and pharmaceutical products, industry standards linked to public health regulations require such products to be transported in sterile packaging, which necessitates the use of virgin plastics and brings the containers that the business produces into scope for the plastic packaging tax. Is there a new direction I can share with that business, or will ongoing policy reviews look at such cases?

The aim of the plastic packaging tax is to provide a clear incentive for businesses to use more recycled plastic in packaging. Following extensive consultation, we looked at a range of possible exemptions and decided to limit those exemptions because we want to encourage innovation in the industry. Put simply, the more exemptions, the less innovation. However, all taxes remain, of course, under review.

A proactive approach to a circular economy could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and cut our consumption emissions. What circular taxation measures is the Treasury looking at to help us achieve those outcomes?

We are clear that we want all taxes relating to the environment to have an impact. The plastic packaging tax, for example, will clearly have an impact on the amount of recycling that takes place and on the amounts put into landfill. Those are all things that we assess as part of evaluations, and the plastic packaging tax will be evaluated this year.