McArthur welcomes pause on “shambolic” deposit return scheme

18 Apr 2023

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has challenged the Scottish Government to use the 10 month delay to the implementation of its proposed deposit return scheme to make the changes needed to get small business back on board.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today during Topical Questions, Mr McArthur pointed to the repeated changes and u-turns made by Ministers resulting in damaging uncertainty for Scottish businesses and confusion for the wider public.

In her response, the Minister Lorna Slater insisted that “there have been no u-turns” on the deposit return scheme. Less than an hour later, however, the First Minister Humza Yousaf announced that its introduction would be delayed until March 2024.

Speaking after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:

“For months, this Scottish Government has stubbornly refused to countenance a delay in the roll-out of their deposit return scheme. Despite mounting evidence of the damage it could cause to hundreds of small businesses across Scotland, including many in Orkney, Ministers insisted that they knew best.

“Thankfully, sense has finally prevailed with this u-turn from the First Minister. Confirmation of a delay in introducing DRS is long overdue but will be met with relief.

“It is vital that Ministers now sit down with producers, retailers and other businesses with a direct interest in DRS to work through the many outstanding issues. Only then can we have confidence that the failings of this poorly-designed scheme will be addressed.

“Evidence shows that deposit return schemes can deliver real benefits in reducing waste, litter and emissions. Countries around the world have successfully introduced schemes without issue, begging the question why this SNP-Green government has made such a shambles of delivering DRS here in Scotland.”