Tesco has been criticised in national newspapers for not donating all of the money raised from the sale of disposable plastic bags.
New government data shows that the supermarket chain kept £3.4m – just over 10 per cent of the £32m raised from selling 637 million bags - as an administration fee.
All retailers with over 250 staff are required to charge for a plastic bag, and while they are not required to give the money to charity, most have chosen to do so.
If they do give to charity, supermarkets are allowed to do this, but Tesco is the only major retailer to have done so.
Last month Tesco revealed that it would be scrapping its 5p plastic bag altogether, and replacing it with a 10p bag for life, but promised there would be no drop in the total amount of money going to charity.
“The legislation for the 5p plastic bag charge is clear that the money raised should go to good causes,” Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, told national newspapers. “Five years after the horsemeat scandal and three years after a false accounting scandal, Tesco finds itself again in the spotlight for doing the wrong thing. They should drop this ridiculous charge immediately.”
A spokesman for Tesco said: “Since launching in 2015, our Bags of Help initiative has provided more than £33m to over 6,400 local community projects. A small proportion of the money raised is used to run and administer the scheme in partnership with the charity Groundwork, who help distribute the money to good causes.”