The Scottish Government’s drive to introduce a minimum 5p charge for all plastic bags in shops has been described by business leaders and political opposition as ‘a frivolous distraction’.
The Federation of Small Businesses say that the measure is mainly ‘symbolic’ and would only cause problems for firms already struggling in a tough economic climate.
The Scottish Conservatives have previously called on the Scottish Government to drop these plans, which alongside the retail levy and increase in empty commercial properties tax, is seen as putting unnecessary pressure on the small business sector.
They favour an incentive scheme, where shoppers could be rewarded for using their own bags in the form of a 5p discount, should instead be considered, as some retailers are currently doing.
Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands MSP and Scottish Conservative environment spokesman, says: ‘The FSB is quite right on this, it is nothing but a symbolic stunt to appeal to the green agenda.
‘All it will do is add to already increasing weekly shopping bills for consumers and cause unnecessary hassle for businesses who are already facing enough challenges.
‘The SNP should be looking at incentive schemes for shoppers, not trying to hit them in the pocket.
‘We see regularly sets of figures showing just how difficult it is for retailers in the face of such global economic pressures.
‘But all the Scottish Government wants to do is make life even harder for them.’