Tax on plastic bags introduced in April 2013
“Evidence from other countries demonstrates that a bag levy is a simple and effective means to reduc asics e substantially the negative environmental impact of carrier bag consumption.
“However, I recognise that consumers will need time to change their behaviour and a asics djust to bringing their own bags when they shop. I therefore propose to discount the charge to five pence in the first year.
“This will ensure a phased approach to charging.”
Mr Attwood said the scheme would be extended to includelower value reusable bags in April 2014.
The minister said 10 civil service jobs would be relocated to Londonderry to administer the levy.
However, an organisation which represents some retailers warned that introducing such a tax on plastic bags could be harmful for some businesses in Northern Ireland.
Alex Attwood said there would be a phased approach to the levy
Glynn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) said: “We are concerned that this is a tax on hard pressed working families and will add to the burden of red tape particularly for small shops who will become tax collectors for this new scheme.
“It unclear if it is intended to discourage plastic bag use or if it is a revenue raiser. It has to do one or the other it can do both.”
A charge for plastic bags was first introduced in the Irish Republic in 2002 it is currently 22 cents per bag.
The charge has also raised over 173 million euros for the exchequer in the Republic.
Mr Attwood said the charge had worked “extremely well” in the Republic.
He said the measure would raise up to 4m a year in Northern Ireland, which would be used for environmental causes.
Wales introduced a charge on single use carrier bags in October 2011.
More than 200 million bags are currently used in Northern Ireland every year.
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