The Chancellor has used his first spring statement to promise a public consultation on a new tax system that will aim to cut the use of single-use plastics in the UK.
He announced the consultation will investigate how the tax system can support a reduction in the utilisation of single use plastics and encourage the use of reusable materials as well as stating ‘an ambition’ to invest £20m in research and development in plastics to develop new greener products and processes.
It comes on the heels of the government’s lukewarm response to a report by the Environmental Audit Committee, which recommended a so-called ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups.
The announcement was welcomed by James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, who said: ‘We welcome commitments by the chancellor to use the tax system to spur green innovation in the field of recycling, and call on him to go further and kick start the renewables economy by introducing enhanced capital allowances for technologies of the future such as solar and energy storage.
‘The Chancellor’s commitment to recycling is welcomed, but needs to go beyond single use plastics. The tax system should be used to encourage more sustainable behaviours and establish a true circular economy, one that includes waste reduction, recycling, and energy recovery. An ambition to bring England’s food waste collections to at least the levels seen in Scotland and Wales should be a priority alongside tackling single-use plastics.’