5p plastic bag charge blamed for close of Lancashire factory and loss of 40 jobs

The factory opened its doors in 1975

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The Independent Online

A factory in Lancashire which manufactures plastic carrier bags has closed, with owners blaming the introduction of a 5p charge in shops last year.

Up to 40 workers at Nelson Packaging have reportedly been made redundant, and management hit out at the new legislation for causing a reduction in demand.

The five pence charge on plastic bags in shops, introduced in England in October, came after successful trials of similar measures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

BBC News reported that the workers in Nelson, Lancashire were asked to leave immediately once the news was broken last Wednesday.

Michael Flynn, managing director of factory owners Intelipac, said: "This was an outcome primarily of the English bag legislation and the corresponding impact on customer and retailer demand for plastic carrier bags.”

“Added to aggressive overseas competition this ultimately proved too devastating for the ongoing viability of the business, despite the continued efforts of the loyal workforce,” he said.

Some workers expressed their shock at the decision.

"It's daunting as I have no interview skills,” Robert Copeland, a worker and Union representative who began working at the factory in 1986, told the BBC. 

“I'm 49 years old and I've got to now go into a new working environment and start again. It is scary.

He added: “I was 19 when I started and… you were seeing the children of people you have been working with for 30 years starting to come through so you had parents and children [at the factory].”