How "charity" plastic bag charge will make the Treasury millions

It doesn't get more disingenuous than this: not only will next year see a mandatory charge on carrier bags, but it'll see the so-called "charity" charge heaping cash into Treasury coffers, reports The Telegraph's Christopher Hope.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg unveiled the 5p charge for plastic bags at the Lib Dems' party conference, back in September.

It's due to be rolled out in England - where seven billion bags were handed by supermarkets last year - in October 2015, but many MPs are calling for a speedier delivery.

Wales and Northern Ireland are already subject to the charge, with Scotland following suit later this year. Unlike in other nations, it'll only apply to non-biodegradeable bags in the UK, and to shops employing over 250 people.

Along with mitigating damage to the environment, Clegg claimed the charge would raise money for charitable causes.

But, it transpires, it'll raise millions in VAT every year for the Treasury too.

Environment minister Dan Rogerson told MPs that he expected the charge to raise £95m a year. But only £70m of this will go to the "charitable causes".

The rest (so £25m) will be split, with £6m going on administration and a VAT charge on sale of the bags of £19m.

The government doesn't intend to force retailers to give the charged money to charity, either. Which leaves us all wondering where the cash will go, or stay.

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