Business News

Plastic packaging tax to come into force next April

Tens of thousands of businesses importing or manufacturing plastic packaging will be hit by a new tax coming into force next year. Government have confirmed that

from 1 April 2022, firms which import or manufacture more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging a year, that has less than 30 per cent recyclable content, will be charged £200 per tonne of packaging. The tax aims to increase the use

of recycled plastic to drive down waste to landfill and incineration. More than 200,000 businesses are

expected to be impacted by the tax. Despite the impact on business,

Will Hargreaves, environmental policy lead at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce says that the tax is a step in the right direction to drive down harmful plastic pollution. He said: “The plastics packaging tax is another step in the right

Championing diversity

A group of established leaders from across the business, professional and financial services (BPFS) sector have joined forces to create a network that champions diversity and inclusion. BPFS Black Leaders

Network has been established to promote and encourage best practice across the sector and demonstrate that diverse and inclusive leadership is a true driver for change. The network was founded by

Joel Blake, CEO of GFA Exchange and president of the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce. Joel said: “Having a succinct

strategy around how to make racial diversity more effective has huge commercial benefits and can aid innovation. By focusing on practical and actionable solutions, alongside a commitment to diversity, BPFS firms can secure their own future; open up new inclusive talent pipelines, reach out to new customer markets; and establish a leadership style and culture that better suits an inclusive and modern workforce.”

26 CHAMBERLINK June 2021

direction towards sustainability, and reducing our reliability on single- use plastics. However, we urge businesses to start preparing for the tax through communicating with suppliers, keeping accurate records of packaging and obtaining evidence of recycling.”

‘It’s good to see an increased nudge towards a green recovery’

In a further bid to drive down

plastic use, the levy on plastic bags has doubled. All retailers in England are now

required to charge 10 pence for single-use plastic carrier bags. The Government expects the use

of plastic bags to fall by a further 70 to 80 per cent following the increased levy charge.

War on plastic: Will Hargreaves Mr Hargreaves welcomed the

move, and said it provided businesses with an opportunity to consider more sustainable carrier bag alternatives. He said: “As we start recovering

from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s good to see an increased nudge towards a green recovery with the aim of further plastic reduction through this successful Government scheme. The majority of citizens are concerned about plastic waste

and support the new charge, and with it now in effect, retailers can donate the additional revenue to charitable causes, which can boost their reputation. “The 10p charge and the

upcoming plastics packaging tax are welcomed and present the opportunity arises to focus on a more circular economy, where waste is eliminated through reuse, potentially generating income for companies.”

Pride festival to make its return

Organisers of Birmingham Pride have confirmed that this year’s festival will return in September. The main festival was cancelled

in 2020 due to Covid restrictions and was instead held virtually on social media. The hugely popular Birmingham

Pride carnival parade will take place on 25 September, leaving Victoria Square at 12pm before eventually reaching the LGBTQ village within Southside District. The carnival parade is free for all to attend. Chamber patron HSBC UK is

backing this year’s Birmingham Pride. The bank’s chief executive, Ian

Stuart, said: “As an organisation with deep roots in the West Midlands whose success is driven by the strengths of different people, experiences and voices, we’re exceptionally proud to support Birmingham Pride. “We’re determined to use our

position in society to support diversity and inclusion in all its forms. We look forward to coming together in celebration and solidarity with Birmingham’s LGBT+ community this September.” Birmingham Pride organisers

have introduced ‘Smithfield Live’ for the very first time, where the main stage, dance arena, cabaret stage, funfair and more will be held

Celebration: The Birmingham Pride parade in 2019

on the site of the former wholesale markets. This arena has been supported by Birmingham City Council, who become partners for the event in 2021. Additionally, a subsidised ‘Street

Party’ and community event will be held in the LGBTQ village, with reduced ticket prices available. Festival director Lawrence

Barton said: “I am delighted that, for the first time, we are hosting an

all-inclusive, free, fully accessible, LGBTQ event as part of our festival programme. “Since 2015, Birmingham Pride

has raised, awarded and distributed grants and accessibility subsidies totalling £390,000. I am encouraged that community contributions are set to increase significantly this year with the introduction of our free community event, which is fully subsidised.”

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