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by Louise Wilson
21 March 2023
Deposit return scheme company ‘out of control’ – SNP MSP

Deposit return scheme company ‘out of control’ – SNP MSP

The company overseeing the deposit return scheme is “entirely out of control”, an SNP MSP has warned.

Fergus Ewing said Circularity Scotland will “decimate small businesses” once the new scheme comes into force in August.

The comments come after it was revealed the Circularity Scotland chief executive receives a salary of £300,000.

In addition, other executives receive a further £370,000 in salary and fees.

Labour’s Colin Smyth asked the Scottish Government whether this level of salary was “appropriate”, labelling it “excessive” and “eye-watering”.

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater said it would be inappropriate to comment given it is a private company.

She added Circularity Scotland is “separate from government and we have no role in the recruitment of staff and their pay levels”.

She avoided answering questions on when she first became aware of the level of salary being paid to executives, but highlighted the company met the regulations which were set by parliament previously.

Ewing said: “Circularity Scotland Limited is a creature entirely out of control. It’s deciding its own policies, it’s deciding its own salaries, and it will decimate small businesses throughout Scotland… Have you not, on behalf of the Scottish Government, in creating Circularity Scotland Limited, created a monster, a modern-day 21st century Frankenstein, entirely out of control?”

Tory MSP Stephen Kerr said Slater was “not fit for purpose” as the minister in charge of the deposit return scheme.

The scheme is set to go live from 1 August, charging 20p for beverages in single-use containers which can then be claimed back from a return point.

A spokesperson for Circularity Scotland said: "We would urged Mr Ewing to take some time to fully understand the role of Circularity Scotland in the deposit return scheme and would remind him that the regulations that led to the creation of Circularity Scotland received cross party support in parliament."

On salaries, they added: "As a private, not-for-profit company, we communicate all senior executive salaries information to our members and benchmark these against similar posts in the industry."

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