Plastic bag tax will bring jobs to Derry

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Ten civil service posts are to be based in Derry to administer the north’s first ever plastic bag tax.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced the tax - an initial levy of 5 pence - will be introduced in April 2013, subject to Assembly approval, on single use of plastic carrier bags.

The levy will increase to ten pence in April 2014.

Administration of the scheme will be based in Derry.

Mr Attwood says that move reflects his commitment to job dispersal in the draft Programme for Government.

“With the creation of the new carrier bag levy I welcome the potential to now locate up to ten civil servant posts in the North West, through the establishment of a new collection and enforcement team to administer the levy and deliver a cost effective in-house IT system,” he says.

The minister says the tax “can bring about significant environmental improvement.”

“However I recognise that consumers will need time to change their behaviour and adjust to bringing their own bags when they shop.

“I therefore propose to discount the charge to five pence in the first year, when the levy will only apply to single use carrier bags.

“This will ensure a phased approach to charging. I am committed to making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest and this will certainly contribute to that goal.”

Derry’s MP Mark Durkan says a similar tax in the south has proved to be a “very successful measure.”

“As well as the environmental and behavioural effects there is the added benefit for Derry of the administrative jobs associated with the levy,” he says.