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Plastic bag tax plan is scrapped

MPs' proposal to charge a 20-centime tax on each bag is thrown out by senators

PLANS to impose a 20-centime tax on plastic shopping bags have been thrown out by senators.

MPs in the National Assembly had initially voted in favour of the tax, against the government's advice, as one of the measures in the 2011 finance law.

Nouveau Centre MP Charles de Courson said a "dissuasive" fee on bags was necessary. His proposed tax would have seen a 10-centime charge introduced on each bag in 2012, rising to 20 centimes in 2013.

However, budget minister François Baroin said the tax was "disproportionate" and UMP senator Adrien Gouteyron said it was "inappropriate" as the number of bags being handed out by shops was already in decline.

According to the government, 10.5 billion plastic bags were distributed in French supermarkets in 2002. This fell to 1.5 billion last year, down 85 per cent.

Environmental charity WWF said the Senate's decision to scrap the tax did not make sense. It follows the decision earlier this year to abandon plans for a "carbon tax" on fuel emissions.

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