The Scottish Government has today laid legislation aimed at temporarily removing the carrier bag levy for home deliveries and click and collect orders of groceries during the coronavirus crisis. Grocery retailers have seen a surge in demand for online orders over recent weeks. 

The proposed legislation, expected to be voted on by MSPs next week, would see the bag levy removed for six months. Welcoming the move, David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: 

“As self-isolation increases, its increasingly likely that home deliveries of food and other items will be left on doorsteps. Dropping goods off in carrier bags in this way speeds up deliveries, and ensures more orders can be dealt with. Scottish Ministers have already moved with breakneck speed to back businesses grappling with the immense challenges created by coronavirus, including relaxing rules on delivery times to stores and warehouses as well as flexing restrictions on store opening hours. This temporary suspension of the carrier bag levy for online orders is similarly a hugely positive and practical step and we are delighted Ministers have listened.” 

Mr Lonsdale added: 

“There has been a surge in demand for online deliveries during the ongoing pandemic. Retailers are working incredibly hard to expand capacity for online deliveries, but as this accounts for around 7% of total food sales, physical stores will remain by far the most important way of getting food. Everyone must come together in the current crisis and we encourage everyone to consider, if they can, picking up food for vulnerable or self-isolating neighbours.” 

Note: The Scottish Government’s Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 was announced in the Scottish Parliament’s 'Business Bulletin' this morning.