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British Retail Consortium attacks 'confusing' carrier bag charge

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that the proposed charge for plastic carrier bags in England from October will “cause confusion for customers and businesses”.

BRC claims exemptions for small retailers and the exclusion of paper and biodegradable bags will confuse consumers as they “are asked to pay for a bag in one shop but not in the shop next door”.

Additionally, BRC said its SME retail members “have made it clear” that they do not want to be exempted.

The Government’s decision to apply the charge only to single use plastic carrier bags, rather than all single use bags, has also been criticised by BRC who argue it makes “no environmental sense”.

BRC says the plans to charge 5p for carrier bags must be kept simple for the scheme to work and believe this could be done by adopting the principle parts of schemes already operating elsewhere in the UK.

A spokesperson said: “A carrier bag charge is already working in Wales and Northern Ireland and will be introduced in Scotland in October and it makes no sense to do something different. Why not use the same scheme and keep it simple and effective?”

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