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    B610 - Plastic Bag Levy Bill 2013 (Third Reading), TSR Liberal Party, TSR Green Party


    Plastic Bag Tax 2013
    A Bill to introduce a levy for obtaining a biodegradable plastic bag, and banning non-biodegradable ones.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

    1. Charges

    1.1 From the 1st of January 2016, 'retailers' will no longer be able to sell or supply any 'non-biodegradable plastic bags;'
    1.2 From the 1st of January 2016, the supply or sale of 'biodegradable plastic bags' from 'retailers' to 'consumers' will incur a levy of 15 pence per bag;
    1.3 Towards the end of 2015 the Government will be responsible for a one-off purchase of 4 cotton bags for each person who is unemployed or earns under 7,000 a year (pre-benefits), which will be given to those people free of charge;
    1.4 When selecting which cotton bag type to use, the Government must first consider both the cost of that bag and also its quality and how long it will last;

    2. Definitions

    'Customer' refers to any person, people or organisation which requires a product or products from other sources.
    'Retailer' refers to any person, people or organisation which supplies a product or products to other sources.
    'Biodegradable plastic bag' is a bag made of plastics which can be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, as currently defined by the FTC and EPA.
    'Non-biodegradable plastic bag' is any plastic bag which does not classify as 'biodegradable'

    3. Payment of charges

    3.1 In the first year 100% of the levy in 1.2 shall be given to the Treasury to cover the cost of purchasing cotton bags;
    3.2 In subsequent years each 'retailer' may nominate a charity to transfer the money raised by the tax on his/her/its 'consumers' to;

    4. Exemptions

    4.1 Some types of bags may be exempt from all sections of this Act, providing that there is suitable justification for the use of plastic bags, including:

    (1). Bags used to contain fresh meat, fish or poultry, loose fruit and vegetables and other foods that are not otherwise packaged;
    (2). Bags used to contain ice and powdered detergents;

    4.2 The DEFRA reserves the right to final judgement about allowing exemptions;

    5. Commencement, and extent

    5.1 This Act shall come into force on the first day of January 2016;
    5.2 This Act extends to England;

    Notes
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Background:

    1. Plastic bags normally used by retailers are usually weak and are manufactured in vast quantities. We use over 8 billion a year in the UK and the manufacture of them is dangerous to the environment.

    2. These plastic bags produce a large amount of waste which is hard to dispose of, dangerous to wildlife/the environment and very slow to decompose - usually ending up as tiny plastic pellets rather than complete decomposing (tiny plastic pellets are found in huge quantities on our beaches and are being consumed by wildlife and so entering the food chain).

    3. Many plastic bags currently classed as 'reusable' (the ones which only cost a few pence) are still often weak and are not always suitable for re-using.

    4. A similar levy, on which several of the ideas outline below are based, has been introduced in Ireland; it was responsible for a 90% decrease in non-reusable bags used and brought in 3.5 million Euros revenue in the first 5 months. In the UK, we should expect a similar percentage reduction and estimate that 80-120 million Euros shall be raised in the first year; it should be noted however that the scheme will not raise any additional money overall for the government (see costings)

    5. Biodegradable plastic bags are better than normal plastic ones, but there are still associated problems and we would prefer cotton bags to be used

    6. Links:

    a. On the Irish scheme
    b. Also on the Irish scheme
    c. A BBC article on plastic bags

    7. Will this be passed onto the consumer?
    The simple answer is... yes. It is however important to put this into perspective; the tax will raise at most £100 million per year. In the meantime, VAT has been cut by £65 billion on TSR. So before anyone brings up those 'poor troubled consumers' again as had happened in all of the last six readings.... this is the rough equivalent of a 0.1159 percentage points increase in VAT (to 4 d.p.), at the same time as VAT has fallen by 13.5 percentage points

    8. Costings
    Costs are impossible to work out for this Bill, as we have no way of precisely measuring the effect on consumer behavior from this. That said, the original tax would have raised about 100 million pounds, and we would expect this version to raise a bit less. The one-off purchase of bags for 2.5 million unemployed people and 2.5 million people individuals earning under 7,000 a year (20 million bags in total) is expected to be entirely covered by the money raised in the first year, while in subsequent years money raised would go straight to charity- as a result for MHoC purposes (e.g. the Budget) we might as well consider this Bill as revenue neutral.

    9. Changes from the 2nd reading
    1. Removed the bit about airports- no one was sure of the original justification behind this
    2. Removed the exemption for small shops- the Bill will now apply everywhere equally
    3. Increased the levy from 10p to 15p
    4. Changed where the money goes- it now goes to the treasury for the first year to cover the one-off cost of purchasing bags, before going to charity
    5. Implemented an immediate ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags
    6. Added in bit about free cotton bags
    7. Modified the tax
    8. Updated the definitions in the Bill
    9. Removed paper bags- the Bill is now focused on promoting cotton bags over plastic ones
    9. Updated costings
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    Aye
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    Aye, absolutely.
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    Aye .
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    Aye. 7th time lucky I hope
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    (Original post by Johnstun)
    Aye. 7th time lucky I hope
    Cheers for taking so much time to re-edit the bill, it has its roots in many Parliaments now.
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    I am really pleased that you added the section about the money going to charity, it will no doubt help those in need and help the charitable sector in these economically difficult times.

    I am also happy that this bill hasn't completely banned plastic bags, after all there are benefits compared to the alternatives (paper) and that instead of leaving it up to people to come to an alternative this bill encourages use of cotton bags which do have a variety of environmental as well as economical benefits that can be promoted (if I'm in government when we purchase these bags we'll make sure there Fair Trade :laugh: ).

    However, I would have kept the use of at least recycled plastic bags as in recent years there have been studies (for example Loughborough University, I'll try to find a link) which come to the conclusion based on various studies that the bio-degradable bags can do more harm than good and is the reason that stores like Tesco have removed them and are using recycled one's instead.

    Apart from that point, this is a very palatable bill.
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    Aye certainly.
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    I commend this bill to the House. It has been great to work with the Greens, particular thanks going to Johnstun for writing it.

    Now let's get it passed, finally!
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    Doesn't go far enough for me. Abstain.
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    (Original post by PhysicsKid)
    Doesn't go far enough for me. Abstain.
    To be fair, there was an opportunity to register such a grievance in the Green sub-forum which you did not, but your conclusion is fair enough.
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    (Original post by Cheese_Monster)
    To be fair, there was an opportunity to register such a grievance in the Green sub-forum which you did not, but your conclusion is fair enough.
    I thought I registered my grievances through expressing my reservations on the Green & Opposition sub-forums and on during various readings of the Bill? Was there an official procedure or something- I thought what I'd done is sufficient.

    To be completely clear to everyone, I don't think a tax is the right way to approach it- it's a step in the right direction, but I'd prefer to stop plastic bags being dispensed. I've declared my bias
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    (Original post by PhysicsKid)
    I thought I registered my grievances through expressing my reservations on the Green & Opposition sub-forums and on during various readings of the Bill? Was there an official procedure or something- I thought what I'd done is sufficient.

    To be completely clear to everyone, I don't think a tax is the right way to approach it- it's a step in the right direction, but I'd prefer to stop plastic bags being dispensed. I've declared my bias
    No, there was a specific thread to recommend changes as it was a joint operation, but it is fine.
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    This is in cessation.
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    Division! Clear the lobby!
 
 
 
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