Thank you for contacting me about the carrier bag charge.

I support the principle of charging for single use plastic bags. Thanks to the public's support of the single-use plastic bag charge, 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main retailers since 2015. 

Currently there is an exemption from the charge for small and medium-sized businesses, however a consultation closed in February which looked at extending the charge to all retailers to help fight the global scourge of plastic pollution. The consultation also explored the possibility of increasing the 5p minimum charge, potentially doubling it to at least 10p. A high volume of responses to this consultation were received. The Government are currently considering these views and expect to publish the summary of responses together with a planned course of action soon.

Some bags are exempt from the charge, including bags for life, bags without handles and bags used as food wrappings. The main reason is to ensure these foods can be kept in good, hygienic condition.

Retailers are expected to donate profits from any charges to good causes and can supply data on how much they donate and which causes they support. The Government publishes this information, which can be found at by searching on the term “Carrier bag charge: summary of data in England”.

The UK is committed to being a global leader in tackling plastic pollution that blights our seas and land and chokes our wildlife. I am pleased that the Government is continuing to build on the success of the plastic carrier bag charge to help ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Robert Goodwill MP