Plastic bag tax is too low?
You may be aware that the controversial carrier bag tax, which has been very successful in Wales was introduced in Northern Ireland last week. However, one shouty environmentalist is claiming that the 5p levy, the same as in Wales, is not high enough and should be increased to 15p.
Former leader of the Green Party in the Assembly, Brian Wilson said "I believe the ultimate success of the legislation will be when plastic bags are phased out completely. I do not believe the 5p levy will achieve this," before lobbying for a threefold increase in the rate.
"The aim should not be to raise revenue; it should be to change consumer behaviour, but I welcome the fact the revenue will be used for environmental schemes," he continued.
However, as in Wales, no one has ever suggested the thrust of the levy is to generate income- all the money raised (apart from any VAT charged) in both provinces will go to charitable causes, and the reduction in carrier bag usage reported in Wales does suggest the 5p charge is effective.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood insisted on the need to curb the 30,000 carrier bags thought to be used every hour and said they were aiming for a reduction in use of “at least 80%”. He also stressed that this was very much a voluntary tax- "consumers don't have to pay the levy. They can simply bring their own bags when shopping."
So what do you think? Is 5p just right, too much or not enough? Do you live in Wales or NI and have an opinion on the success of the scheme? Tell us in the poll below. Or don't and see if we care.