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UK govt to consider tax on throwaway plastic

FILE PHOTO - Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's finance department said on Saturday it expected finance minister Philip Hammond's budget statement next week to include a consultation on taxing and charging environmentally damaging single-use plastics.

Single-use plastics include packaging and bubble wrap, polystyrene takeaway boxes and throwaway coffee cups.

The finance ministry said the move would build on the introduction of charges for plastic bags, which has led to an 80 percent reduction in UK plastic bag use since 2015.

"The Chancellor is expected to announce in the budget that this work will specifically look at taxes and charges to help prevent pollution, and protect the environment," the finance ministry said.

It said the consultation is expected to launch in the new year and will take into account another government consultation on deposit return schemes for drinks containers.

Hammond is under pressure to turn around the fortunes of Prime Minister Theresa May with his budget, but with Brexit weighing on the economy he has limited options.


(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Andrew Bolton)