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5p charge for plastic carrier bags
Shoppers in England will face a 5p charge for plastic bags under a new government plan to be announced by Nick Clegg.
The scheme, intended to discourage the use of environmentally-damaging carrier bags, will be set out by the Deputy Prime Minister as the Liberal Democrat conference opens in Glasgow.
Mr Clegg is understood to have fought hard for the policy in the coalition, despite government concerns about the rising cost of living.
The move, which is set to come into effect in autumn 2015 after the next general election, will bring England into line with other parts of the UK.
Charges are already in place in Wales - where there has been a 76% fall in plastic bag use since it was introduced in 2011 - and Northern Ireland, with Scotland to follow suit next year.
"Nick Clegg had to fight pretty hard in government to deliver this when everything is about the cost of living," a senior Lib Dem source said. "We believe that a small charge outweighs the environmental damage caused by plastic bags."
The charge will only apply to supermarkets and other large stores, with small corner shops excluded.
The proceeds will go to charities involved in clearing up the environmental damage caused by the bags rather than the Government or the retailers.
With the Government aware of the pressures caused by the squeeze on living standards, other senior Lib Dem minister suggested easing pay restraint as the economy improved.
Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander indicated that workers should share in the success of business. He told the Daily Telegraph: "It's not for me as a Treasury minister to start telling employers what their pay policies should be, that's a matter for firms. But of course, as growth returns to our economy and we see businesses being successful, the workforce will want to and should share in that success."