Currently shops that employ more than 250 people are required to charge 5p for a carrier bag, but under new measures the 10p fee will apply to all retailers.

Theresa May is expected to announce the rise as part of plans to tackle “throwaway culture”.

Ms May said: “We have taken huge strides to improve the environment, and the charge on plastic bags in supermarkets and big retailers has demonstrated the difference we can achieve by making small changes to our everyday habits.

“I want to leave a greener, healthier environment for future generations, but with plastic in the sea still set to treble we know we need to do more to better protect our oceans and eliminate this harmful waste.”

The number of single-use plastic carrier bags handed out by supermarkets in England has drastically decreased. 

  • In 2014 – before the charge was introduced – the seven main retailers (Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, the Co-Operative Group, Tesco and Waitrose) handed out the equivalent of 140 plastic bags per member of the population.
  • In 2016-17, that fell to 24 bags, falling further to 19 bags in 2017-18.
  • In total, 13 billion plastic bags have been taken out of circulation in the past two years.