Retailers in Norway were celebrating on Tuesday after the Finance Ministry announced it was dropping plans to impose a new tax on plastic bags from March 15. The tax was highly controversial, and the ministry seemed unable to answer all the questions about how it would be applied.
The ministry issued a press release Tuesday, while Finance Minister sat in the first round of state budget conference meetings at Hurdal, that the government would suspend the tax at least until the revised state budget is presented later this spring.
Retailers, especially grocery store chains that already charge around NOK 1 for plastic bags to discourage their use, were relieved. “This is a tax no one wanted,” Mette Fossum Beyer of the REMA 1000 grocery store chain, told state broadcaster NRK. “We’re glad that the government has turned around on this.”
The tax caused so much controversy after it was announced last year that neither Jensen nor other party leaders would take credit or responsibility for it. Jensen claimed that the Liberal Party, one of the conservative government coalition’s two support parties, had introduced the idea, while the Liberals said it was Jensen’s Progress Party. Beyer said she hopes the government just drops the plastic bag tax proposal entirely.