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Trade group attacks Scottish bag tax assessment

By: PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

August 7, 2013

The Packaging and Films Association (Pafa) has called the Scottish government's impact assessment on carrier bag charges "flawed" because it failed to take into account the success of voluntary reduction schemes and the likely effects on jobs.

Barry Turner, Pafa's chief executive, said: "This assessment admits there is 'uncertainty over a number of estimates and assumptions' yet continues to advocate punitive legislation against what it persists in calling single use bags — although more than 70 percent are actually re-used.

"It also agrees there will be 'an increase in demand for bin liners and dog waste bags' and ignores the 50 percent reduction in virgin polymer (for example through increasing recycled content) that we have achieved on a voluntary basis at no cost to the consumer."

In contrast, the proposal in Scotland will be a major cost to households, which is unnecessary and will come at a time when people can least afford it, said Pafa. The industry organization added that the costs of pushing the proposed legislation onto the political agenda have been ignored and the effects on Scottish jobs have been overlooked.

"It is now more than 10 years since the Scottish government embarked on its program to legislate against carrier bags. We have to wonder how many tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers money have been spent on getting this far when that money could have been spent on initiatives that bring true significant net environmental benefit and create jobs rather than destroy them in the 22 Scottish companies they have identified in the bag supply chain in Scotland," Turner said.