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Welsh retailers oppose levy on reusable bags

Trade body the Welsh Retail Consortium (WRC) has said a proposal to extend the levy on single use plastics bags to reusable bags penalises shoppers.

The proposal is outlined in an Environment Bill that the Welsh Government has submitted for public consultation.

Ministers said in the consultation document that the introduction of a 5p charge on single use carrier bags in 2011 had been “very successful” in significantly reducing demand for the bags.

They proposed extending the charge to reusable bags, or “bags for life”, because there was a risk that consumers may start treating them as low cost throw-away bags.

The WRC said such a measure would mean penalising customers for buying reusable bags.

John Munro from the WRC told BBC Wales’s Sunday Politics programme: “The WRC does not support extending the charges to reusable carrier bags or bags for life the simple reason is we’re trying to encourage customers to reuse their carrier bags and we’re doing that by placing a charge on single use carrier bags.

“It seems slightly perverse to be telling customers that we want them to reuse their bags and then tax them, basically penalising them for using and buying reusable bags.”

The Environment Bill consultation runs until ending 15 January 2014.

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