The trade body for the plastics industry has held last-minute meetings with government officials as part of a lobbying effort to water down a tax on single-use plastics, internal documents have revealed.

Members of the British Plastics Federation (BPF) met Treasury staff this week, the documents state, in their fight to persuade the government to row back on a key aspect of the policy to tackle plastic pollution.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced a tax on plastic packaging with less than 30 per cent recycled content from 2022 as a key strategy in the budget, with the aim of making the UK “a world leader in tackling the scourge of plastic littering our planet and our oceans”.

The trade body’s research forecasted that a plastics tax would increase the proportion of packaging using more than 30 per cent recycled plastic from 25 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2022.