Sep 13, 2017: Tesco has been accused of keeping part of the money raised from the sale of 5p plastic bags.
The supermarket chain has reportedly kept £3.4million of the £32m – 10% of the proceeds -, raised from selling 637 million bags, new government data has revealed.
The plastic bag tax was introduced in October 2015, and requires all employers with more than 250 staff to charge customers in England for disposable plastic bags.
Though not required to give the proceeds to charity, most retailers have done so, giving the entire donations to specified charities.
But Tesco appears to be the only major retailer to take a portion of the donations for its own use.
Last month, Tesco announced that it would be scrapping its 5pm plastic bag altogether and replacing it with a 10p bag for life, but promised there would be no drop in the total amount of money going to charity.
Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, said the supermarket should quickly drop the ‘ridiculous’ charge.
She said: ‘The legislation for the 5p plastic bag charge is clear that the money raised should go to good causes.
‘Five years after the horsemeat scandal and three years after a false accounting scandal, Tesco finds itself again in the spotlight for doing the wrong thing.
‘They should drop this ridiculous charge immediately.’
A spokesman for Tesco said: ‘Since launching in 2015, our Bags of Help initiative has provided more than £33m to over 6,400 local community projects.
‘A small proportion of the money raised is used to run and administer the scheme in partnership with the charity Groundwork, who help distribute the money to good causes.’