Treasury 'warns Downing Street against doubling plastic bag charge’

Sources warn of danger that doubling charge to 10p ‘looks like profiteering'

Photo: PA

By Kevin Schofield

28 Aug 2018

The Treasury has warned Downing Street that plans to double the charge to shoppers for using plastic bags "looks like profiteering," it has been reported.

Theresa May wants chancellor Philip Hammond to use November's Budget to increase the levy from 5p to 10p.

But in a further sign of the strained relationship between 10 Downing Street and Number 11, a Treasury source told the Daily Telegraph that Hammond was opposed to the policy.


"The 5p tax has already worked and dramatically reduced the use of plastic bags," said the source. "If it's raised to 10p it looks like profiteering.

"The key thing is that people feel their family budget is going up. Consumers don't want to feel like they are being hammered with more taxes on the cost of everyday living."

Meanwhile, The Sun reports that the chancellor has also said he is "not interested" in environment secretary Michael Gove's calls for a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups.

A source told the paper: "The chancellor takes the view that we’re not particularly excited about creating new taxes like coffee cup taxes and so on, which are just going to hit working people.

"We’re much more interested in if we can do something that we think is more intelligent that is very small but significant tax incentives on the retailers and producers which will make them change behaviour and hopefully not hurt customers at all."

The source added: "There are more systemic ways to change the system and get retailers and producers to take more responsibility over the products they choose rather than increasing taxes on consumers, which at the end of the day means more money for hardworking people when they shop in the supermarket. That’s our approach."

As part of the government’s A Green Future: Our 25-year Plan to Improve the Environment policy plan, Gove has pledged to eliminate single-use plastics in central government offices.

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