Spring statement - action or inaction on single-use plastics?

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 13 March 2018

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a call for evidence around a tax on single-use plastic in the first ever spring statement. He said it was part of the Government’s drive to leave the natural environment “in a better state than we found it.”

Philip Hammond
© Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Whilst we welcome today’s announcement and the Government’s focus on this issue, plastic litter is causing damage to our oceans and marine wildlife today and we would have liked to see the Government go further by announcing a full consultation on the issue or even better announcing the introduction of a deposit return scheme or a latte levy.

Emma Crane,
MCS Public Affairs Manager

Mr Hammond said the call for evidence would deliver on the Government’s promise to tackle the complex issue of plastic littering and threat to our oceans.

He said the call for evidence would cover the whole of the single-use plastic supply chain from alternative material to re-usable options and recyclable opportunities.

Mr Hammond said it will look at how a tax system on single-use plastics can drive technological progress and behaviour change “not as a way of raising revenue but as a way of changing behaviour and encouraging innovation.”

He said there will be investment to develop new greener products and processes funded from revenues raised.

He also said the Government would award 20 million pounds to businesses and universities to stimulate new thinking and rapid solutions in this area during the call for evidence.

Emma Crane is the MCS Public Affairs Manager:
“Whilst we welcome today’s announcement and the Government’s focus on this issue, plastic litter is causing damage to our oceans and marine wildlife today and we would have liked to see the Government go further by announcing a full consultation on the issue or even better announcing the introduction of a deposit return scheme or a latte levy.

“Charging for plastic bags worked to change behaviour and we need to do the same with single use plastic. It’s also vital that producers take an active role in the design and recyclability of packaging. It’s time to act now and #STOPtheplastictide.”

Co-leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, tweeted that the “Govt isn’t afraid to talk about protecting our environment. But they’re not taking the action needed. - refuse to bring in a bottle deposit return scheme - stall the latte levy - propose action on plastic that will take 25 years! Not good enough. #SpringStatement”

Whilst, Mary Creagh, Chair of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee also took to Twitter saying: “Single use plastic tax announced back in November Budget. Deposit return scheme, October. Now? A call for evidence. Next? Consultation. This will drag on for years…..”

Actions you can take

  1. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  2. Help us stop the plastic tide

Did you know?…

Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded 40% fewer bags on beaches

On UK beaches levels of litter have doubled in the past 20 years