Opposing charges on packaging


Ensuring governments recognise the health implications that can arise from discouraging use of ‘fresh’ packaging for ready to eat food.

The FPA lobbied the UK and devolved governments during the consultation periods leading to charges on carrier bags implemented by each of the UK governments. We are opposed to all charges on packaging however although plastic carrier bags account for only 0.2% of litter it was clear the government were not going to be deflected from implementing a charge. We therefore focused on the health implication of reusing a bag for ready to consume food contained in packaging that isn’t fully sealed. The legislation in Scotland and England provides an exclusion for bags used to contain unwrapped foodservice items and food in containers where leakage may occur. In Northern Ireland there is an exemption for all hot take away food.

We believe a precedent may be established recognising the importance of protecting  public health in these matters. However a further principle has also been established in applying charges for packaging to curb consumer demand with a view to reducing litter. We are concerned governments will seek to impose charges on other forms of foodservice packaging and will lobby to curb such developments at he earliest policy forming stage.

The Communities and Local Government Select Inquiry on Litter wished to propose a levy on foodservice operators to pay for litter. We helped to ensure this proposal was dropped and will campaign to ensure levies are applied to foodservice operators and caterers as a source of additional funding for local authorities.

We also support moves by the hospitality industry to lower the rate of VAT on eating out.