A North Wales store owner has spoken out against the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) proposed levy on carrier bags and urged retailers to join in the consultation process to fight the proposals.

Mike Skerrett, who runs a Spar store in Dolwyddelan, North Wales, and has represented Spar and ACS at meetings discussing the issue, has concerns over both the plan and the way it is being communicated.

"This may come into force next year and some of it is very poorly thought through," Mike told C-Store. "It will affect everybody who gives out single-use carriers whether plastic or paper but if you want to take part in the consultation you have to fill in a pro-forma statement which is difficult to find on the internet."

He continued: "Bags will be taxable, so stores will have to account for every one used, and the fines for non-compliance are up to £5,000. And it will all be policed by trading standards, so potentially there could be test purchases to check if we're charging for bags."

Mike is also concerned that the bag levy will mean the end of local voluntary schemes.

"I've been charging for carrier bags for 12 months and giving the profit to a local school, but that would have to stop. The WAG doesn't even have the power to collect taxes it has to be a levy under the Climate Change Act with all revenue going to a central fund to be spent on 'environmental projects'."

Two further public meetings are being held to discuss the proposals, on September 10 in Venue Cymru, Llandudno; and September 17 at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Written contributions to the consultation have to be received by September 21.

Mark is urging Welsh retailers to attend the meetings "in their hundreds".

He added: "It is retailers who will have to implement this measure and in my opinion the WAG has not done anywhere near enough to publicise its intentions."

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