Trade body welcomes Government decision to reject 'latte levy'

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

More costs: UKHospitality has welcomed the decision to not introduce a 'latte levy'
More costs: UKHospitality has welcomed the decision to not introduce a 'latte levy'
UKHospitality has welcomed the Government's decision to ditch the 'latte levy', which would have "heaped more costs" on pubs and other hospitality businesses already trying to tackle the problem of waste.

The Environmental Audit Committee had made the recommendation to introduce a 25p levy on the use of disposable coffee cups, to reduce their use and help to fund recycling measures – known as the 'latte levy'.

However, the Government refused the proposal last week, and has instead chosen to rely on voluntary commitments.

In its official response to the committee, it said: "Clearly, the 5p single-use plastic bag charge has had a big impact and far fewer are being sold. So these types of incentives can change consumer behaviour and this is something we could consider among other policy options.

"We are pleased that major coffee retail chains are taking action to reduce single-use coffee cups by offering discounts to customers with reusable cups and are putting in place the infrastructure to ensure cups can be collected for recycling. The Government would like to see this service offered by all businesses selling disposable coffee cups.

“The Government has recognised the proactive voluntary work already being carried out by the sector to reduce waste. Venues are already beginning to remove plastic straws and implement loyalty schemes for customers who bring their own reusable cups.

"Consumer trends need to change, and this must by driven by business, but through partnership rather than punitive measures that will only heap more costs on businesses trying to help tackle this problem."

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government has recognised the proactive voluntary work already being carried out by the sector​ to reduce waste.

"Venues are already beginning to remove plastic straws and implement loyalty schemes for customers who bring their own reusable cups. Consumer trends need to change, and this must by driven by business, but through partnership rather than punitive measures that will only heap more costs on businesses trying to help tackle this problem.”

Pub companies that have already began to remove plastic straws from their sites include the Deltic Group, Ei Group, Oakman Inns and JD Wetherspoon.

Major trade bodies have also joined a joint campaign with The Morning Advertiser,​ which urges pubs to ditch plastic straws and stirrers.

Devastating impact

However, Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh MP said: "The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The Government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action."

She continued: "Evidence to our inquiry demonstrated that charges work better than discounts for reducing the use of non-recyclable materials – as was the case with the plastic bag charge. By choosing to favour voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the Government is ignoring the evidence about what works."

Related topics: Legislation

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