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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."

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