Downing Street has denied there are plans to introduce a tax on disposable nappies as part of a bid to encourage parents to switch to more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
It had been reported that a tax on disposable nappies – which are zero-rated for VAT – was being considered in an effort to reduce the amount going to landfill.
According to sustainability charity Wrap, the UK disposes of three billion disposable nappies each year, which represents an estimated 2-3% of all household waste.
They have calculated that by the time a baby is potty-trained, it could use 4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies.
The Daily Mail reported that, following a crackdown on throwaway plates, cups and cutlery, the next single-use item being looked at by ministers was disposable nappies.
The newspaper quoted a Whitehall source as saying: “But you couldn’t ban them – that would be too tough for parents. It would need to take some form of a tax.”
However, asked on Tuesday if there were plans to introduce a tax on disposable nappies, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “We will not be putting a tax on nappies. That story is untrue.
“We have a strong track record on tackling pollution, and we believe the best way to do that is to ensure that we have policies that are proportionate and encourage people to make change.
“And we will continue to introduce policies that we believe strike that correct balance.”
The spokesman added he was not aware if Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie – who have a 16-month-old son, Wilfred – used disposable nappies.
In a picture of Mrs Johnson and US First Lady Jill Biden playing with Wilfred on the beach at the G7 summit in Cornwall earlier this year, the prime minister’s son did appear to be wearing a disposable nappy.
At the 2018 Conservative Party conference, Michael Gove – then environment secretary – suggested the government could launch a crackdown on disposable nappies, although he denied they could be banned.