Cardiff petition over carrier bag charge

Single-use carrier bags have carried a minimum 5p levy since October last year Credit: ITV News Wales

The Welsh Government has hit back at a protest from the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group, who are collecting signatures in Cardiff today against the 5p carrier bag charge.

The levy was introduced in October last year to help reduce the number of carrier bags used in Wales; therefore cutting down on waste and litter.

But the TPA claims it is harming the local economy, saying some small businesses are paying the charge themselves rather than passing on the cost to customers.

They also claim it is tarnishing Wales' reputation as a tourist destination, as customers from oversees cannot understand why they're being charged.

They're now collecting signatures for a petition calling on the Welsh Government to abolish it altogether.

TPA Welsh Coordinator Lee Canning said: "No-one wants to see plastic bags littering the streets of Wales; however this is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

"It adds an unacceptable burden on small businesses that are forced to comply with the regulation or risk a hefty fine. The Welsh Government should be encouraging families to reduce their reliance on bags, not punishing them when they don't."

The TPA calls the 5p charge a 'draconian tax', but a Welsh Government spokesperson said: "This is not a tax. No money from the charge will come to the Welsh Government but will instead be passed on to good causes by retailers."

They said results from businesses so far have been positive, adding: "Some retailers have seen a 90 per cent drop of single carrier bag usage."

"The TaxPayers' Alliance are a Tory front organisation. They speak for no one but themselves."

The spokesman added that shoppers can avoid the charge by taking their own bags with them.

There's been a lively debate on the issue on the ITV Wales Facebook page

Joanne 'JoJo' Evans these bags ruin the environment and seeing as the charge goes to charity, continue with the charge and find more important things to whinge about

Doreen Wardle Doe I own a business, don't get carrier bags anymore cuz customers moan about the charge....I have to buy the carrier bags...

Siân Odoom If you resent giving 5p to charity, why not take your own bag shopping with you?

Anthony Michael Kitcher Keep the charge, whats 5p anyway? The 5p charge goes to charity which is very reasonable, if people dont like paying 5p then they prob dont want their money going to a good cause

Ffion Corcoran i would rather pay 5p for a carrier bag and get my free prescriptions, if you lived in england you may get free bags but you'd get charged a fortune for being ill!

Mark O'Neill The charge should be lower than 5p-and personally i would drop it altogether.