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Plastic bag tax to be extended to EVERY shop

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Plastic bag tax to be extended to EVERY shop: Levy to affect all stores rather than just large retailers and could rise from 5p to 10p in a bid to slash pollution

The plastic bag charge is to be extended to every shop.

Theresa May will announce the move next week – and consult on proposals to double the levy from 5p to 10p.

She will confirm the charge will affect all stores rather than just large retailers, lifting the exemption on small businesses with fewer than 250 staff. 

Next week Theresa May will announce the move to extend the plastic bag charge to every shop

Next week Theresa May will announce the move to extend the plastic bag charge to every shop

The plans are designed to further reduce Britain’s reliance on the plastic poisoning our environment.

The move marks another major step in the war on waste, following a pioneering Daily Mail campaign that led to the introduction of the 5p charge on carriers in 2015.

Since then, plastic bag use has fallen by an astonishing 86 per cent.

The levy has had remarkable success in breaking our addiction to plastic. 

The latest figures show the number of plastic bags issued every year by supermarkets has fallen from 7.5billion to just one billion since the tax was introduced.

The toll of plastic pollution in the sea could be 150million tonnes by 2025 ¿ treble the 50million tonnes estimated in 2015

The toll of plastic pollution in the sea could be 150million tonnes by 2025 – treble the 50million tonnes estimated in 2015

In addition, the 5p charge has raised tens of millions for charity. Retailers are urged to pass the money on to good causes.

The extension of the scheme will allow yet more cash to be generated. At present only about 260 retailers are required to force shoppers to pay 5p for plastic bags. 

The current exemption for retailers with fewer than 250 employees means tens of thousands of stores continue to give out free bags. 

Smaller shops gave away more than 700million throwaway carriers last year.

The Association of Convenience Stores has previously welcomed proposals to extend the bag levy to all stores. 

More than a third of its 33,500 members have already adopted the tax voluntarily.

There were nearly 297,000 retail businesses in the UK in 2017, including just under 129,000 with between one and 249 employees, official figures show.

Last night Mary Creagh, chairman of the Commons environment audit select committee, said: ‘This extension of the plastic bag charge to smaller shops is a welcome, logical next step in tackling single-use plastics. 

‘Communities will want to know how the funds raised will be spent and how this fits in to the Government’s plans to save our streets and seas from plastic pollution.’

Mary Creagh, chairman of the Commons environment audit select committee

Mary Creagh, chairman of the Commons environment audit select committee

Earlier this year Mrs May said she would consult on getting rid of the small business exemption in the hope of ending Britain’s ‘profligate’ waste of natural resources and ‘throwaway culture’.

The plastic bag tax finally arrived following the Mail’s Banish the Bags campaign, which began a decade ago.

The landmark drive was launched in February 2008 but the Treasury resisted acting for years, with ministers and officials claiming it would be unpopular with shoppers and retailers. 

Then-chancellor George Osborne was eventually forced to back down in 2015 amid mounting public anger at the damage being caused to oceans.

The introduction of the 5p charge followed similar levies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Good causes supported by the charge include initiatives such as anti-litter projects, beach clean-ups and even cancer care nurses.

At least £66million was donated in the financial year 2016-17. The true total is likely to be higher as not every large retailer in England revealed how much it had raised. 

The Mail’s attempts to highlight the waste blighting our oceans has been recognised by the head of the UN’s environment programme and our fight continues with our Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign.

This newspaper has campaigned successfully for a ban on plastic microbeads and is now pushing for wider action against all throwaway plastic. 

It has also launched a Take Back Your Bottles campaign calling for a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

In January, Mrs May unveiled a 25-year plan to eliminate ‘avoidable’ plastic, including bottles, cups and almost all plastic packaging.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove is considering a ban on plastic straws and earlier this month Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed he is consulting on a tax on single-use plastics such as coffee cups.

Last night the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs declined to comment on its plans for plastic bags.  

BREAK THE PLASTIC HABIT! JOIN THE DAILY MAIL’S CAMPAIGN

Ten years ago, the Mail launched a trailblazing campaign to rid Britain of the scourge of plastic supermarket bags — prompted by a heartrending, shaming picture of an endangered turtle entangled in one, which was used on the front page.

The success of our Banish The Bags initiative has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Now, in a landmark series that could have just as big an impact as that front page a decade ago, we’re here to assure you that you really can make a difference — and your actions can help save our beautiful world and its animals.

The Mail’s Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign isn’t intended to make you feel guilty about plastic you depend on. Instead, this series will guide you through small daily steps you can take — with little expense or effort — to make dramatic inroads into reducing the amount of plastic you use.

Even simply changing one habit — such as using the reusable coffee cup we’re giving away today, instead of a throwaway cup — will help decrease the demand for new plastics. If every Daily Mail reader uses their cup just once a day in place of a takeaway cup, millions of plastic-lined paper cups will be saved from landfill in a year.

It’s simple maths. Use a plastic bag twice and you halve your plastic footprint. Buy one bar of soap and you may spare the planet two or even three pump-action hand wash bottles. Inspire someone else and the impact is doubled.

We’ll tell you how to double your recycling efficiency overnight, banish plastic from your kitchen and dodge food packaging. Better yet, you can even shop to save the planet with gorgeous — and reusable — plastic alternatives.

It’s never too late to start…

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