10 per cent of income from plastic bag levy spent on admin costs

Almost 10% of income generated by the plastic bag levy scheme has been spent on staffing and administration costs
John Monaghan

ALMOST 10 per cent of money raised from the carrier bag levy is being spent on administration costs for the scheme.

Out of almost £14 million raised in Northern Ireland from the levy since 2013, £1.5m has been spent on salaries and administration costs.

More than £3m per year has been handed out in the same period in grants for various funds and environmental projects.

Projections for the current financial year show that £531,000 is to be spent on administration, around 10 per cent of all predicted expenditure.

A minimum 5p charge is applicable to all plastic bags.

The former Department of the Environment spokesman said in 2014 that around 215 million fewer bags were used in the first year of the levy, a drop of around three-quarters.

The figures were released by Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen in response to a series of written Assembly questions from Ulster Unionist MLAs Jo-Anne Dobson and Rosemary Barton.

Mrs Dobson expressed dismay at the amount spent on administration costs.

"This figure does not include other costs, such as those encountered by businesses when administering the levy.

"It is clear the minister has some work to do to ensure that the funds raised from the levy are only used for environmental protection, which is what we were promised when it was first introduced," she said.

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