Humza Yousaf: Devolution becoming ‘unworkable’ after deposit return row
The First Minister has claimed devolution is becoming “unworkable” following various interventions by UK Government ministers into Scottish Government decisions.
Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Parliament was seeing the “steady erosion” of powers and a “pattern of unprecedented assault”.
The comments come after his government announced a delay to the rollout of its deposit return scheme to October 2025, which will bring it in line with the planned launch date for the UK-wide scheme.
The initiative will introduce a 20p refundable charge on single-use drinks containers in a bid to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
But it required an exemption to the UK-wide Internal Market Act to go ahead. UK ministers said they would only give this on a temporary basis if glass was removed from the scheme.
Circular economy minister Lorna Slater said the UK Government had “sabotaged” the scheme as she announced the delay, and Yousaf later said his government had “no choice” as excluding glass would have put businesses at a disadvantage.
The FM has now said: “The last few weeks have brought into sharp focus the grim reality that under Westminster control, even the limited measure of self-government that devolution provides is no longer guaranteed.
“It is the case that this Tory Government has ensured that devolution in Scotland is becoming unworkable.”
He also accused Labour leader Keir Starmer of not “standing up” for Holyrood, adding: “There is now a real opportunity for Keir Starmer to show that he supports the basic principles of democracy and devolution. He must recognise that urgently or his party risks ending up on the wrong side of history.”
Scottish secretary Alister Jack welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision earlier this week, saying DRS needed to be “consistent across the whole of the UK”.
He added: “We will continue to work with the Scottish Government, and the other devolved administrations, on a UK-wide deposit return solution.”