The Single Use Carrier Bags (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021: business and regulatory impact assessment

Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for proposed changes to the Single Use Carrier Bags (Scotland) Regulations 2021.

5.0 Scottish Firms Impact Test

49. This section considers the impact of the single-use carrier bag charge increase on Scottish businesses, across industries, firm types and sizes. It is informed by a two-fold consultation with businesses, which is more fully explained in the ‘Businesses Consultation’ section of this BRIA

50. For Question 20 of the public consultation (Do you agree with the proposal to increase the minimum charge on single-use carrier bags from 5p to 10p?), 121 responses (32%) were submitted by organisations. Of these, 77 (64%) agreed with the proposal, 3 (2%) disagreed and 41 (34%) neither agreed nor disagreed.

51. For Question 21 of the public consultation (Do you agree that the initial 5p minimum charge on single-use carrier bags has had a positive impact on the environment?), 120 responses (31%) were submitted by organisations. Of these, 80 (67%) agreed, 6 (5%) disagreed and 34 (28%) neither agreed nor disagreed.  

52. Many large food retailers have already taken voluntary action to increase SUCB charges to 10p or above, and some have stopped selling them altogether, switching to BfLs. These retailers will not be impacted by an increase in the SUCB charge. Smaller retailers who continue to use SUCBs are able to recoup any costs and therefore should not be impacted financially.

53. Overall, it is therefore not deemed likely that increasing the SUCB charge will lead to a substantial business impact. Asda noted that the business had banned SUCBs in 2018. It temporarily reintroduced them for shopping delivery and ‘click and collect’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, but subsequently removed them again unless customers specifically requested them, applying a charge of 40p. 

54. It was noted that small businesses should be given sufficient time to prepare for the change, particularly given the business and consumer uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

55. Based on the feedback provided by businesses and the low response rate to the questionnaire overall, an increase of the SUCB charge is not expected to lead to significant impacts on businesses in Scotland.



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