Recycling row

Tories urge SNP MSPs to support DRS delay

Maurice Golden
Maurice Golden: appealing to SNP members

Scottish Tories will attempt to derail the government’s controversial bottle recycling scheme by appealing to dissident SNP backbenchers to oppose it.

They are calling on them to vote for a Scottish Conservative motion to pause the introduction of the much-criticised Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), pending an independent review.

The Tories want more SNP members to follow Fergus Ewing, a former government minister, who has spoken out against Circularity minister Lorna Slater’s determination to implement the scheme on 16 August.

They will use an opposition business slot in parliament tomorrow (Wed) to debate the DRS, which businesses are warning will have a catastrophic impact if it goes ahead as planned.

Tory MSP Maurice Golden, convener of the cross-party group on the Circular Economy, accepts that an effective and workable scheme will make a real contribution to the circular economy.

But he will highlight that the SNP-Green Government ignored models from other countries, the concerns of businesses, and the need to make it workable within the UK to avoid crippling Scottish firms with additional costs and burdens.

Businesses have warned that, as constituted, it would impose potentially fatal costs on them, which would have to be passed on to customers. There are also potential legal obstacles – including the possibility it could create an unlawful trade barrier with the rest of the UK.

Mr Golden said: “With the battle to succeed Nicola Sturgeon under way, now is the perfect time for SNP backbenchers to do the right thing and send a clear message to the leadership contenders that the shambolic Deposit Return Scheme is not fit for purpose.

“The warnings from firms across Scotland could not be more stark – this could force them out of business.

“MSPs from all parties – but especially the SNP – have the chance to prevent Armageddon by supporting our motion for the scheme to be paused pending an independent review. If SNP backbenchers support it, we have the votes to do just that.

“Businesses are terrified, and understandably so. The current plans would make many firms unviable and cost thousands of jobs, as well as removing choice from consumers and driving up prices during a cost-of-living crisis.

“Despite being years in the planning, we now have six months to go and a policy that is totally ill-equipped, poorly planned and will end up causing more harm than good. Yet Lorna Slater ploughed on regardless.

“There is still no clarity on how much of it will work. Business and waste management experts called for at least 18 months’ notice prior to the scheme’s launch, but with less than six months to go, many details are still not forthcoming.

“It must be paused immediately. A successful Deposit Return Scheme could have a positive impact on business and the environment. But, as it stands, this one is assisting neither.”

Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell accused the Tories of trying o block Scottish democracy and showing they are “100% anti climate, anti nature and devoid of common sense”.

He added: “The Tories really must be living on another planet, because they certainly aren’t showing any signs of caring about this one.”

He said the DRS is “completely workable. It is good for our environment and for the many businesses who will want to play a responsible role as part of the solution.”

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