Minister furious

Attacks on DRS are ‘kick in teeth’ says Slater

Lorna Slater
Lorna Slater: kick in the teeth

Circularity minister Lorna Slater today said it would be a “kick in the teeth” for Scotland’s recycling industry if businesses did not sign up for the controversial deposit return scheme.

Businesses must meet a deadline of today to register or risk being unable to trade in Scotland. Many have said the fees involved are too high and threaten their own cashflow.

Ms Slater, expressing frustration and anger over the way her plans have been presented, urged businesses to meet the deadline.

She accused critics, including SNP Finance Secretary and leadership contender Kate Forbes, of failing to understand the scheme and spreading misinformation.

She insisted the scheme would go ahead and said she was awaiting a decision from Westminster on getting an exemption under the UK Internal Markets Act.

“Millions of pounds have been spent [by the industry] on this. No one with any credibility would delay the scheme any further,” she said.

“Businesses have made substantial investment, shops have got their planning permission for their reverse vending machines. They do not get a return on that investment until the 20 pences start flowing.

“It would be absolutely a kick in the teeth to the industry to delay this scheme. Industry has put in so much work, we have sites for sorting… trucks… businesses that have done the right thing deserve a return on that.”

Ms Slater said the DRS was “tried and tested” and that there was “nothing new here.”

She said Ms Forbes, who has called for a review to prevent “carnage” for small firms, could get the information she needs from Sepa and Circularity Scotland.

Help had already been provided for small firms and a grace period to allow some more time to get their processes in place was now under consideration.

However, Scottish Labour Net Zero spokesperson Colin Smyth, criticised the muddle and called for Ms Slater to resign. 

“We desperately need action to boost recycling rates in Scotland and to get our ambitions on net zero back on track, but this farce has delivered nothing but chaos and confusion and has put Scottish small businesses at risk,” he said.

“Across the world successful Deposit Return Schemes have been implemented, yet this SNP-Green government have stubbornly ignored warning after warning about their scheme and now it is in jeopardy. 

“Lorna Slater has completely lost the confidence of Scotland’s small businesses and has now lost control of this scheme after failing to do the basics to make it work. 

“If we are going to stand a chance of fixing this mess, she must stand aside.

“If this incompetent Government can’t even get a Deposit Return Scheme right, what chance to do they have to deliver our wider net zero targets.”

Comment: Let’s tidy up this rubbish recycling scheme

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