Lobbying by BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association) has led to the Government’s U-turn on the proposed tax on multi-use consumer goods such as hydration bottles, lunch boxes and storage boxes. The association voiced objections to aspects of the draft Plastic Packaging tax legislation after HMRC proposed the extension of the tax to include multi-use consumer goods.
BHETA received this confirmation from HMRC’s project leader, Mark Palmer: “HMRC has now published draft secondary legislation clarifying the scope of the tax. Storage boxes for homes use and reusable food and drinks containers do not need to be included in these regulations. The draft legislation clarifies that a further number of products are outside of the scope, and examples of these include items sold for long term storage of goods throughout their lifetime, such as toolboxes, items where the packaging is integral to the use of the goods, such as water filter cartridges, and items for reuse in the presentation of goods, such as shop fittings.” Mark thanked BHETA for its input on the issue of multi-use consumer goods.
Prior to BHETA’s intervention, the previous draft of the legislation could have precipitated costs of an estimated additional £10million per year in tax for housewares and home goods suppliers. BHETA’s marketing manager Steve Richardson,who co-ordinated the lobbying initiative, commented on the breakthrough: “The amended legislation follows the principle BHETA championed that ‘single use plastics’ are a much bigger problem than ‘multi-use’ products.” Any plastic single use items for home use – such as carrier bags and plastic cups – will be liable to the plastic packaging tax.
Steve continued: “The change of plan regarding multi-use products is great news for many suppliers and BHETA thanks everyone who has supported the campaign to date. I would like to thank members of the BHETA steering group who collectively influenced more than thirty cross party MPs, including a cabinet minister, to support the campaign; members who suggested upgraded technical specification tests on qualifying product; and specifically, Tony Grimshaw of What More and Nicola Davies at Sistema Plastics who supported BHETA in its meeting with HMRC. BHETA is also very grateful to Paul van Danzig from BHETA service provider Wastepack for technical advice.” (See linked stories).
What More UK director Tony Grimshaw OBE commented: “I’m very grateful for the exemplary work from our trade association BHETA and to my five local MPs. They worked hard to ensure HMRC appreciate that our industry is part of the solution, and not the cause”.
BHETA’s chief operating officer Will Jones welcomed the news, stating: “When this draft legislation was originally made public for consultation, it was made clear that the tax framework was conceived, and previously presented, as a measure ‘to encourage the use of recycled plastic … within packaging.’ This is entirely laudable but the proposed addition of consumer products into the scope of the proposed laws was unreasonable and counterproductive.
“Given the HMRC turnaround, I am not only delighted with the outcome for all members affected, but I’m also thrilled to see what BHETA can achieve for members, by organising a collaborative, well thought through approach to Government.”
Top: Reusable food storage and lunchboxes, such as Sistema’s Bento box pictured, are no longer part of a new packaging tax.