Plastic bags: forget the ad campaign, just tax them

Today’s Mirror reports on the Government’s latest initiative to cut down on pastic bag use – an advertising campaign:

The average shopper uses 13,000 plastic bags in their lifetime, according to a study. Research by the Department of Environment said a person gets through 160 new carrier bags each year.

Last year 9.9 billion of them were handed out in the UK. … The numbers were released to mark a new advertising campaign to urge people to re-use bags. But Lib Dem Tim Farron branded it “gimmickry” and said the Government should just tax the bags..

I’m with Tim here. At a time when public funding is facing a severe recessionary squeeze, do we really need a new ad campaign to tell people what we already know – that plastic bags are bad for the environment, and we can all of us cut down on our use of them – when we could tax their use, cutting pollution, and generating new revenue into the bargain?

Jo Swinson worte an article for LDV last September explaining the various measures to combat excess packaging that she was proposing to the 2008 Lib Dem conference – you can read it HERE.

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6 Comments

  • Tom Papworth 7th Apr '09 - 4:39pm

    “…and generating new revenue into the bargain?”

    I shudder when I read these words!

    I believe this is what critics of New Labour call a “Stealth Tax”. We should not be trying to generate new revenue into any bargain! We should set out in advance how much we need and tax to that level.

    HOW we get the money is a different matter, so I wish you had said “generating the same revenue in a new and more responsible way into the bargain”.

  • Tom Papworth 7th Apr '09 - 4:41pm

    Oh, and Jock, I’m convinced that the next great environmental crisis is going to be the Bag-for-Life mountain.

    And loads of them bear our logo!

    I blame The Independent.

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