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Environmental Initiative hindered while British Government retains taxation powers

4 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Environmental Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay, has said that the fact that politicians in the Assembly have no power to introduce a plastic-bag tax in the north again highlights the need for taxation powers to be transferred from Britain.

Mr McKay said:

"It is clear that there are a number of issues that all the parties agree on, such as Corporation Tax and a Plastic Bag levy, which are being vetoed by an unaccountable British Government.

"When the Assembly is restored Sinn Féin will continue to push strongly for the introduction of a progressive plastic-bag tax here like the one that has been introduced in the 26 Counties.

"To date it is estimated that the plastic-bag levy in the 26 Counties has raised €75 million. Money, we would argue, that could go toward protecting the environment if it was introduced in the north. The per capita usage decreased overnight from 328 bags to just 21 and resulted in a massive 95% decrease in plastic bag litter.

"At the end of the day MLAs are elected to do a job, and we cannot effectively implement our respective party manifestos if the powers to do so remain with British Government Ministers who are not accountable for their actions. At the heart of the environmental agenda here should be the promotion of the '3 Rs' - 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'', and a plastic-bag tax in the north would certainly be a key initiative in this agenda." ENDS

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