It may be seen by some as just another environmental tax, however the carrier bag charges coming into effect in England next month are, according to Defra, necessary to “protect our environment from litter and pollution”.
Back in 2014, the major supermarkets in England distributed over a staggering 7.6 billion plastic bags, an increase of 233 million on 2013.
Defra say that the new 5p charge could reduce this amount by up to 80%. The introduction of the same charge in Wales has seen a reduction of 71% since 2011. In Scotland, the charge resulted in a 22% (147 million bags) drop despite the levy only being in place for the final 11 weeks of 2014.
With this reduction Defra expect to see an overall benefit of up to £730 million raised for good causes, £60 million savings in litter clean-up costs and carbon savings of around £13 million, as well as boost to the economy.
The charge comes into play next month on 5 October.
a) the number of bags you distributed
b) the amount of money you received from selling bags
c) any VAT you paid on the money received for the bags
d) what you did with the proceeds
e) details of “reasonable costs”. These are costs incurred to comply with the legislation, such as changing till systems, training staff, administering donations to good causes and getting expert advice. It is expected that these costs will reduce after the first year of complying.
Reporting will be done on an annual basis with the first reporting period taking place from 5 October 2015 to 6 April 2016, and then from 7 April to 6 April the following year from 2016 onwards.
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