The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on ministers to include small businesses in plans to charge 5p for single use carrier bags, after legislation on the issue was confirmed in today’s Queen’s Speech.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “Compulsory carrier bag charging is a policy that works. It significantly reduces carrier bag usage, it saves retailers money and it generates money for good causes. We are pleased ministers are confirming their commitment to bring this in next year.

“However, we remain convinced that the proposed exemption from the charge for small and medium size businesses is unnecessary and unhelpful. We will continue to press ministers to make the 5p charge universal in England, as is the case in the existing and proposed schemes in the rest of the United Kingdom.”

In February this year, the Environmental Audit Committee published a report on the plans to bring in a charge in England, calling for the charge to include all businesses and be simple to understand for both consumers and retailers.