BHETA Steering Committee on Plastic Tax Secures HMRC Meeting

The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) has formed a steering committee of the leading UK plastic manufacturers in the home enhancement and home improvement industry with the objective of ensuring that the industry is represented properly reference future legislation in respect of the use of plastic. As a result of lobbying by the steering committee, individually and collectively, BHETA has secured a meeting with the HMRC’s Alex Marsh (who is leading the Plastic Packaging Tax initiative) at the end of March.

The companies involved in the BHETA steering committee to date are What More UK, Strata Products, Addis, Taylor’s Eye Witness, Eko, Simplehuman, Newell, Lifetime Brands, Whitefurze, JML, and DNC UK.

The move has been prompted by the need to approach Government in relation to last-minute additions to the draft Plastic Packaging Tax legislation, which extended its scope to include consumer goods as well as packaging. So far, the campaign has engaged with numbers of cross-party MPs and Government Ministers to reference the anomalies in the consultation draft and the implications for consumers were the legislation to go ahead in its current form.  The nub of the issue is the need to address the impact of single-use plastic packaging, as opposed to penalising multi-use consumer products made from plastic.

Chief Operating Officer of BHETA, Will Jones commented: “No-one can argue about the reasonableness of the Plastic Packaging Tax overall, but the last-minute inclusion of items such as storage boxes, buckets, and plastic food containers runs contrary to the encouragement of multiple-use plastics as a replacement for single use.

“Multi-use plastic – combined with improved recycling – is part of the solution to the problem of plastic waste pollution and the Government should be making a distinction between single-use packaging and multiple-use, lifetime consumer goods in daily use.  Unfortunately, the current draft legislation appears not to do this, and it is essential that we communicate this point and ensure that future legislation starts by addressing the immediate issues.

“Supplier businesses are working hard to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and the industry, in general, uses many millions of tons of recycled plastic packaging as its raw material for product manufacture, producing a wide range of multi-use items such as storage boxes, buckets, and wheelbarrows.”

The draft legislation on plastic packaging in question – which says that all packaging which is not at least 30% made from recycled plastic is subject to tax levies – has been in consultation for some time, but in a conference call on 11th December, HMRC informed the Joint Trading Associations, including BHETA, that it plans to include plastic consumer goods in the scope of the new law.

Under the new legislation, from April 2022 all plastic items used in the packaging of products must include a minimum of 30% recycled content, or face taxes of £200 per metric tonne of chargeable plastic packaging components.

Will added, “This is not only an issue for suppliers, but will become an issue for consumers when the increased costs inherent in categorising consumer goods as taxable in the same way as packaging is passed on through the supply chain, which will inevitably be the case.   Well-produced multi-use home products, such as those manufactured by members of the BHETA steering committee are part of the solution to single-use plastics, not part of the problem; and we are urging all members affected by this to write to their local MP; join the BHETA steering committee.”

BHETA regularly lobbies on subjects affecting housewares, small electricals, DIY and garden members.  It also provides member training and retail networking events, up to the minute data on market opportunities compliance advice.  To find out more, contact Nicola Adams at the BHETA Member Services Team on 07946 078566, or alternatively, email on na@bheta.co.uk

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