Stores in Wales will be required to charge a minimum of 7p for a single-use carrier bag when new regulations come into force next March.

Welsh Assembly Environment Minister Jane Davidson announced details of the bag tax last week, saying: "Carrier bags are a symbol of the throwaway society in which we live. We take the view that 7p is high enough to be habit-changing, but low enough not to affect impulse buying. This will send a message encouraging people to reuse their carrier bags."

She added that retailers, who would be allowed to take an administration charge but must donate the majority of the supplement to charity, would save money in the long term as they would not need to purchase as many plastic bags for customers.

The Association of Convenience Stores expressed concerns about the impact the 'bag tax' will have on local and high-street shops. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The local shop sector has been at the forefront of moves to reduce bag usage by implementing a range of schemes. However, the plan to impose a blanket tax will inconvenience customers and undermine local shops that rely on 'pop in' trade."

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