ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has asked Welsh Assembly Members to oppose a proposed levy on chewing gum, which is being debated today. The proposal, introduced by Darren Millar AM, would require retailers to add the 5p levy to the price of chewing gum sold in store, and to pay the funds to the Welsh Government for it to be used to combat problems with chewing gum waste.

In a briefing to all AMs, ACS has highlighted retailers’ opposition to the proposed levy as an unnecessary tax on consumers and burden on the more than 3,000 convenience stores operating in Wales. If introduced, the levy would be equivalent to an increase of 50% on the rate of VAT (on a 50p pack of Chewing Gum).

While proponents suggest a similarity to the carrier bag levy introduced in Wales last year, the ACS believes a chewing gum levy would focus on revenue raising for an issue where there are already enforcement penalties and educational schemes in place.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “ACS and our members support measures to tackle litter and waste issues, but are concerned that the proposed levy would unfairly penalise customers and retailers. Retailers already work with local authorities and organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy to address local issues. We are calling on the Welsh Assembly to continue this work with retailers and local partnership schemes, rather than imposing further unnecessary taxes and regulatory burdens.”