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Clegg: Shops should give plastic bag cash to charity

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he hopes the money raised from the proposed 5p charge on plastic bags will be given to good causes.

The charge was unveiled at the Lib Dem conference today but government sources have acknowledged they are powerless to force retailers to hand over the money.

Clegg said: "We will discuss with retailers how the money raised should be spent but I call on them to follow the lead of industry in Wales and donate the proceeds to charity."

Wales' 5p plastic bag charge scheme hailed a 'success'

A compulsory 5p charge on plastic bags in Wales has been hailed a success since the scheme was introduced in 2011.

Welsh Labour Assembly Member John Griffiths said there was "no reason why the charge wouldn't work just as well in other parts of the UK".

Since Wales introduced the 5p plastic bag charge:

  • The use of plastic bags reduced from 270 million to 70 million;
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for environmental groups from the bag charge proceeds; and
  • Cardiff University found 82 per cent of shoppers brought their own bags, up from 61 per cent before 2011.

Clegg 'must do much better' than 5p plastic bag charge

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

Friends of the Earth have welcomed the Liberal Democrats’ plan to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags, but said Nick Clegg must go further to tackle the nation’s “huge waste mountain”.

"A plastic bag charge is welcome news, but let's not get carried away," spokesman Craig Bennett said.

"If Nick Clegg wants to champion the environment he must do much better - starting by allowing Lib Dem peers to back a 2030 target for decarbonising the power sector when the Energy Bill reaches the House of Lords."


Mixed reaction from MPs to plastic bag plan

Labour MPs have given a mixed reception to the government's plan, put forward by Nick Clegg, to introduce a 5p charge for supermarket plastic bags.

Bag charge 'will help improve the environment'

A coalition of environmental charities has welcomed the proposed introduction of a 5p charge for supermarket bags in England.

We are delighted that the Government has finally listened to the Break The Bag Habit campaign and the thousands of supporters who've written letters and signed petitions calling for this moment.

Finally the Government will help improve the environments we all love so much by implementing a policy that the Break The Bag Habit has shown to be popular with the public and effective in reducing litter.

– Andy Cummins of Break The Bag Habit

Your views on plastic bag charge

ITV News Facebook fans have been reacting to the proposed introduction of a 5p charge for plastic bags at supermarkets in England.

Here are a few of the comments:

  • Jay Lynch Long overdue. Just buy reusable bags, people. Not only will you save money, but you'll also help the environment.
  • Michelle Griffiths This is absolutely pathetic. The standard bags don't last 5 minutes, don't you think we all spend enough on a standard food shop?
  • Gilli Jones I live in Wales and we've been doing this for some time now. At first it was annoying, but it makes you remember to take your shopping bags.

Climate change secretary hails plastic bag charge

Ed Davey says the move is a "huge environmental step forward". Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has welcomed the move to introduce a charge for plastic bags at supermarkets in England – and denied that it was a revenue-generating scheme.

He told BBC Breakfast: "It is a huge environmental step forward. We want you to not pay this charge by reusing and not using plastic bags.

“The success of this charge will be that it doesn't raise any money. We are very clear that none of this money will come to government, we are not trying to tax people, we are trying to change people's behaviour.”

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