A tax on chewing gum will be considered by ministers as part of plans to tackle Britain’s throwaway culture (above: Chancellor Philip Hammond)
A tax on chewing gum will be considered by ministers as part of plans to tackle Britain’s throwaway culture.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will launch a public consultation tomorrow on how the tax system can be used to cut down on the most environmentally damaging single-use plastics.
As part of the review, ministers will look at whether gum, which is commonly made from a synthetic rubber similar to plastic, should be included.
Gum is the second most common type of street litter after cigarette materials, with councils spending around £50million a year cleaning up the mess.
The Chancellor will use his Spring Statement tomorrow to call for evidence from green groups, industry and individuals on how the Government can build on its plastic bag charge.
The consultation comes after he announced in the Budget in November that ministers would look at how the tax system could be used to help deliver the Government’s target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
Mr Hammond said: ‘Single-use plastics waste is a scourge to our environment. From crisp packets to coffee cups, each year the UK produces millions of tons of waste which is neither recyclable nor biodegradable.
‘We are determined to create an environment that is fit for future generations.
‘By working with industry, innovators and the public, I am confident we can bring about real change.’
He also cleared the way for an NHS giveaway in the Autumn Budget as he signalled he could be ready to loosen the purse strings within months.
The Chancellor ruled out extra spending in the Spring Statement, but said there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
He suggested that both the Ministry of Defence and NHS could get cash boosts in the Budget. Mr Hammond said debt was still too high and had to be brought down.
‘There is light at the end of the tunnel because what we are about to see is debt starting to fall after it has been growing for 17 continuous years.
Gum is the second most common type of street litter after cigarette materials, with councils spending around £50million a year cleaning up the mess
‘That is a very important moment for us but we are still in the tunnel at the moment,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
‘We have a debt of £1.8trillion – 86.5 per cent of our GDP. All the international organisations recognise that is higher than the safe level.’
Economists expect Mr Hammond to announce that borrowing is set to be around £7billion lower in 2017-18 than had been predicted. But he made clear that he would not be making any changes to spending in his statement.
‘If there is … the space to do something, we will decide in the autumn how we are going to use that,’ he said.