SLTA demands ‘clear path forward’ for DRS

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Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has said that current speculation that the UK government is on the verge of issuing a conditional agreement that could permit Scotland to pilot a UK-wide deposit return scheme (DRS) without glass is “what we asked for five years ago”.Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said, “Five years ago, the Scottish hospitality and retail sectors pushed for a UK-wide scheme with glass out of scope – we always said that any DRS should be UK-wide and without glass and include a standardised deposit charge, bar codes and labelling across the UK.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA MD

“This is another twist in the ongoing DRS farce where producers, suppliers, and the retail and hospitality sectors are the collateral damage, left in limbo as to what a scheme will finally look like or if it even goes ahead at all.“What we need now is a clear path forward and it is imperative that we get clarity on what is happening as soon as possible.“We have always said that we will support a DRS that is workable and practicable for both businesses and consumers – that hasn’t changed but the whole debacle needs to be sorted out as a matter of urgency.”

Meanwhile, the Federation of Independent Retailers said it will take legal advice against the SNP-Green administration if the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is abandoned.

The threat followed reports stating that the compensation bill for DRS could be as much as £500 million if it is axed by the Scottish government.

The Fed also rejected the comment from Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf that the UK government should pay out any compensation.

“We support a deposit return scheme as it will boost recycling and reduce the litter which blights land and sea,” Mo Razzaq, deputy vice president of the Fed, said.

“However, Scotland’s scheme is deeply flawed and seems unlikely to get off the ground. We believe less than 3 per cent of our members have taken out leasing contracts for the machines to process the empties. For the scheme to succeed, ministers across the UK need to join Ireland in offering small shops financial help to lease these machines.