Tesco takes millions from plastic bag tax

Plastic bag

Tesco only supermarket to take fee for administering plastic bag charge to charities 

11th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Tesco has been slammed for taking £3.4m in admin fees from the plastic bag tax.

The 5p charge for plastic bags was introduced in Scotland in 2014 and England in 2015 as an environmental measure – resulting in an 83% reduction in plastic bag use.

Tesco sold 637m carrier bags, raising £31.9m for charities. But the supermarket giant deducted £3.4m to cover the “cost of administering donations”, equivalent to more than 10% of the total it has emerged.

It remains the only retailer to claim admin fees from the plastic bag tax, leading to criticism from campaigners and politicians.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, criticised the supermarket giant. 

“The legislation for the 5p plastic bag charge is clear that the money raised should go to good causes,” said “Five years after the horsemeat scandal and three years after a false accounting scandal, Tesco finds itself again in the spotlight for doing the wrong thing.

“They should drop this ridiculous charge immediately.”

Administration costs included customer communications and the provision of voting tokens and booths which customers use to choose the charities that are supported, Tesco said.  

A spokesman for the supermarket said: “Since launching in 2015, our Bags of Help initiative has provided more than £33m to over 6,400 local community projects.

"A small proportion of the money raised is used to run and administer the scheme in partnership with the charity Groundwork, who help distribute the money to good causes.”

All employers with more than 250 staff are required to charge customers in England for disposable plastic bags.

Legally, retailers can choose whether to donate their bag tax revenue to charity.

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