Welsh bag tax will hit local shops hardest, says ACS

As the Environment Minister publishes the detail of long held plans to impose a bag tax on Welsh consumers, ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has expressed concerns about the impact the tax will have on local and high street shops.

Under proposals retailers will be required to charge a minimum of 7p per bag for a single use carrier bag, and retailers will be encouraged to donate the proceeds to a charity.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers agree whole heartedly with an ambition to reduce dramatically the use of single use carrier bags in Wales. The local shop sector has been at the forefront of moves to reduce bag usage implementing a range of schemes. However the plan to impose a blanket bag tax will inconvenience customers and undermine the local shops that rely on pop in trade.

“We just can’t agree that the blanket 7p tax is the right approach, Ministers have failed to think seriously about how the charge might change customer shopping habits, pushing them towards out of town, car borne, shopping.

“Ministers have sought to reassure that the compliance requirements will be light touch, but they are placing a further bureaucratic burden onto thousands of welsh businesses.”

Ministers plan for the bag tax to come into force by Spring 2011.