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B471 - Plastic Bag Levy Bill 2012 (Second Reading)

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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    And this post added to the debate how? You should follow your own 'general rule'. I had something to say, that I was going to vote against the bill, and I expressed that sentiment. Don't like it? I'm sure you'll get over it.

    Toodles.
    I admit that I am being hypocritical, as I'm quite certain that I've done the 'aye/nay' thing myself. Its just that seeing your post (and this is by the way nothing personal against you, or your party) made me realise the general uselessness of such posts (and yes, once again, I'm pretty certain I've done it myself). For every three right wingers who post 'aye' on a right wing Bill, we could have two three wingers posting 'nay.' There is no debate, and no discussion between such points; surely the purpose of this forum is for debate?

    And as an afterthought I genuinely respect your party, which is often the best at debating or writting legislation
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    Fewer plastic bags, less chance of animals being harmed, so a yes from me.
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    (Original post by stanlas)
    So who should be taxing them? Or do we just continue to throw away 8 billion bags a year?
    Well often, people use them as bin liners. I see no practical difference in using a supermarket bag as a bin liner, or buying a bin liner - in terms of plastic thrown away... :confused:

    Even then, we throw away 1/3 of our food, so should we be taxing food a whole load more. Taxing packaging on products? Taxing anything we throw away? It's not a rationale to tax it.

    (Original post by Smack)
    Because this gives consumers the choice about whether they want to pay extra for plastic bags or not. If the manufacturers were taxed extra they'd raise their prices, then the supermarkets would in turn raise their prices and thus all consumers, whether they use a bag for life or not, would have to share the burden.

    Also remember that this is already a tried and tested method of reducing plastic bag usage in real life.
    If manufacturers of plastic bags were taxed, they would pass it on through increased prices for plastic bags, yes. So the supermarket would have to pay more for plastic bags from the manufacturer. They might then choose to charge consumers that cost, or not, but we'd be in the same situation as now - since we're levying this tax on the supermarket anyway, and they could choose to pass it on through increased prices...I'm merely saying we should be taxing the harmful process because it is harmful, not because we're trying to get to some social ideal of no plastic bags or other arbitrary goal. This is all before we've established there's an externality from the manufacture which isn't already covered by the Carbon Tax.
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    no, point of principle life is already expensive enough as it is without paying for every bag i have to use.
    Well then maybe this will make people save more plastic bags or simply buy and use those "bags for life." Which would sorta achieve what we're all aiming for.


    Maybe kids will spend more on this then their Justin Bieber cassette tapes or their hippy hop music.
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    Do I get a say? If so it's a no from me.

    Plastic bag manufacturers are already subject to the existing tax regime which on average gobbles up 50% of GDP. They're paying more enough as it is.

    Additionally It'll cripple the plastic bag industry and put even more people out of work in an environment where jobs are hard to come by; fewer plastic bags consumed means less work, more unemployment and more pressure on the welfare budget.

    All in all it's a bad idea.
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    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    If manufacturers of plastic bags were taxed, they would pass it on through increased prices for plastic bags, yes. So the supermarket would have to pay more for plastic bags from the manufacturer. They might then choose to charge consumers that cost, or not, but we'd be in the same situation as now - since we're levying this tax on the supermarket anyway, and they could choose to pass it on through increased prices...I'm merely saying we should be taxing the harmful process because it is harmful, not because we're trying to get to some social ideal of no plastic bags or other arbitrary goal. This is all before we've established there's an externality from the manufacture which isn't already covered by the Carbon Tax.
    But, as I've said, this is already a tried and tested method of changing consumer behaviour i.e. getting them to use less plastic bags. I see this every weekday, and I'm not particularly interested in changing something so it's more in line with libertarian ideology.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    Do I get a say? If so it's a no from me.
    You're not an MP, and you're a Libertarian so no.

    To answer your points, about the plastic bag industry. Well they'll just have to adapt. People need to learn to be more conservative with their plastic bags. I think we have to put aside worries about the plastic bag industry for one minute and accept that this could juist be one way to help our enviroment, amongst other things.
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    Nay, this is just another attempt to get government to nudge people in the 'right direction' by the use of levies and so on. Pointless if you ask me.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    Do I get a say? If so it's a no from me.

    Plastic bag manufacturers are already subject to the existing tax regime which on average gobbles up 50% of GDP. They're paying more enough as it is.

    Additionally It'll cripple the plastic bag industry and put even more people out of work in an environment where jobs are hard to come by; fewer plastic bags consumed means less work, more unemployment and more pressure on the welfare budget.

    All in all it's a bad idea.
    We don't exactly have a huge plastic bag industry in the UK (however the British Plastics Federation tries to spin it), so the economic effect will be limited. A small price to pay to reduce plastic bag usage to some 6-7 billion a year.


    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    Even then, we throw away 1/3 of our food, so should we be taxing food a whole load more. Taxing packaging on products? Taxing anything we throw away? It's not a rationale to tax it.
    Certainly, there may be other things we need to do as well to help the environment. If you write a Bill on taxing product packaging or restricting it, then I will be happy to second it.

    The reason why what you have before you is a plastic bag tax, and not, say, a food waste tax or a packaging tax is that reducing the usage of plastic bags has a fairly simple solution. We've already seen other countries have up to 90% reductions in the usage of plastic bags with just one tax; clearly, its a problem that can be solved. Food waste and packaging problems on the other hand do not have such a simple solution, which is why we have not written a Bill on that.

    Oh, and in case anyone is wondering what the main problem with plastic bags is:
    plasticbags.jpg
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Nay, this is just another attempt to get government to nudge people in the 'right direction' by the use of levies and so on. Pointless if you ask me.
    Do you think the planet has infinite resources and infinite space for landfills?
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    (Original post by Smack)
    But, as I've said, this is already a tried and tested method of changing consumer behaviour i.e. getting them to use less plastic bags. I see this every weekday, and I'm not particularly interested in changing something so it's more in line with libertarian ideology.
    It's not so much as 'being in line with libertarian ideology', as not trying to use government to push society towards the official's ideal of society. It's about taxing things that impose a harm on others - which the sale of plastic bags does not do. If there's harm in the process somewhere along the line, tax it there, if there isn't, don't tax it at all.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Nay, this is just another attempt to get government to nudge people in the 'right direction' by the use of levies and so on. Pointless if you ask me.
    What do you disagree on? Do you disagree on:

    A) The point of the Bill? (reducing the usage of plastic bags). In that case would you rather we continue to throw away 8 billion of them a year?

    B) The effectiveness of the Bill? In that case why do you think a policy which has worked in countries such as Ireland and Mauritius will not work in the UK?
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    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    It's not so much as 'being in line with libertarian ideology', as not trying to use government to push society towards the official's ideal of society. It's about taxing things that impose a harm on others - which the sale of plastic bags does not do. If there's harm in the process somewhere along the line, tax it there, if there isn't, don't tax it at all.
    But that's exactly what this bill is about.
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    (Original post by stanlas)
    What do you disagree on? Do you disagree on:

    A) The point of the Bill? (reducing the usage of plastic bags). In that case would you rather we continue to throw away 8 billion of them a year?

    B) The effectiveness of the Bill? In that case why do you think a policy which has worked in countries such as Ireland and Mauritius will not work in the UK?
    A. As I said to Smack:

    It's not so much as 'being in line with libertarian ideology', as not trying to use government to push society towards the official's ideal of society. It's about taxing things that impose a harm on others - which the sale of plastic bags does not do. If there's harm in the process somewhere along the line, tax it there, if there isn't, don't tax it at all.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    But that's exactly what this bill is about.
    Which is why I disagree with it.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Nay, this is just another attempt to get government to nudge people in the 'right direction' by the use of levies and so on. Pointless if you ask me.
    If people aren't smart enough to do it on their own they need to be nudged.
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    (Original post by thunder_chunky)
    If people aren't smart enough to do it on their own they need to be nudged.
    There's a reason we use the quotes around 'right direction', and talk of an official's ideal of society - rather than the ideal society. Even then, you still need to justify why it's acceptable to use the threat of force to "encourage" people to engage in behaviours that those humans in government seek for the other humans to engage in.
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    (Original post by stanlas)
    What do you disagree on? Do you disagree on:

    A) The point of the Bill? (reducing the usage of plastic bags). In that case would you rather we continue to throw away 8 billion of them a year?
    This point is what I disagree with. We may use 8 billion bags a year but we don't throw them away. Most people I know stuff them in a cupboard and re-use them, and supermarkets' pushing of things like 'bags for life' have led to a reduction anyway. We don't need legislation to force people to do things that they're already doing voluntarily.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Do you think the planet has infinite resources and infinite space for landfills?
    That's hardly the point. The bill may reduce plastic bag use but it's not exactly out of control as it is. I rarely come across a landfill on my travels around this country and even when I do they're not overflowing with plastic bags. As I said, people are using less plastic bags. They stuff them in a cupboard and reuse them and a lot of people are buying 'bags for life' without the need for Parliament to tell them to.
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    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    Which is why I disagree with it.
    And that's too bad, but sooner or later things that contradict libertarian dogma are going to have to happen unless we want a sharp decline in living standards. We don't have infinite resources to produce things nor do we have infinite space to dump things and if extremely minor taxes have to be implemented to try and curb frivolous wasting of valuable, finite resources then so be it.
Updated: July 13, 2012
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