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Spring Statement 2018: Dramatic tax hike could erode UK plastic addiction

Dramatic tax hike could erode UK plastic addiction

Barbara Bell, environmental tax director at KPMG in the UK, comments on the consultation on tax policies for single-use plastics.


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Commenting on the Chancellor’s consultation on tax policies for single-use plastics, Barbara Bell, environmental tax director, KPMG UK, says:

“If the Chancellor really wants to kick the UK’s plastic addiction any proposed tax hike would need to be significant. For example further increasing the cost of a plastic bag from 5p to 10p would do little to change behaviours but if you suddenly have to pay £1 for carrier bag, I think sales of shopping trollies would rise! 

“If done properly, tax policies can be effective in changing long-term consumer behaviours. The landfill tax is a perfect example of that. Tax has been the driving force for reducing the amount of waste dumped on landfills as well as the multitude of recycling initiatives we are now familiar with.

“The Chancellor will also want to remember that a truly successful environmental tax will erode itself in time. So, whilst initially a one-use plastic tax could fund green research, if executed with care, it won’t be a long-term source of income. Anything less than a dramatic tax hike would appear a fund raising exercise for the government rather than a real attempt to clean-up our act.” 


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For further information please contact:

Christina Bridge


About KPMG in the UK

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 14,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.2 billion in the year ended 30 September 2017. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 152 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. 

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