Following his attack last week on the DOE proposal to include bags made of any material in the carrier bag tax, during the Consideration stage of the Carrier Bag Bill, TUV MLA Jim Allister has tabled an amendment for debate next Tuesday to remove paper bags from the ambit of the Bill.
Explaining Jim Allister said, “The mischief to which the carrier bag tax was supposed to be addressed was pollution by plastic bags, but now the department wishes the tax to embrace bags of all materials. Already in my constituency jobs have been lost among suppliers and in Bangor a supply company collapsed in consequence of the bag tax. Including paper bags is an unnecessary exercise in over legislating. Paper bags are wholly biodegradable and thus, unlike plastic bags, cause no long term damage to the environment. They deserve to be treated differently and shoppers afforded the right to accept from retailers paper bags in which to carry their purchases.
“These are points which we pressed strongly on the minister on Thursday when I brought the owner of a Ballymena supply company to meet him. By exempting paper bags we can significantly limit the damage being done to suppliers in the bag industry and at the same time help consumers by restoring to them the right to carry away their purchases in biodegradable paper bags. The proposed legislation simply goes too far and takes liberties under the guise of dealing with the acknowledged menace of plastic bags.
“I trust, therefore, that on Tuesday the Assembly will carefully weigh the issues and come down on the side of less, not more, legislative intervention.”