Humza Yousaf: Government had ‘no choice’ in deposit return delay
First Minister Humza Yousaf said his government “had no choice” but to delay the rollout of the deposit return scheme, blaming an “11th-hour demand” from the UK government.
Speaking to journalists after FMQs, Yousaf said it was “regretful” that such a decision had had to be taken but excluding glass from the plan would put businesses at a disadvantage.
Circular economy minister Lorna Slater announced yesterday that the DRS would not begin until October 2025, 19 months later than planned.
The Scottish Government required an exemption to the UK-wide Internal Market Act to allow the DRS to launch in March 2024.
The initiative aims to stop single-use drinks containers going to landfill and would introduce a refundable 20p charge on cans and bottles.
But UK ministers said they would only give this on a temporary basis if glass was removed from the scheme, which Scottish Government said made the scheme unworkable.
Yousaf said: “We had to act in the way we had to act because, of course, of the decisions the UK Government have made.
“What I would say to businesses is that it’s very regrettable that we have come to this position, but we have no choice given the 11th-hour demand that had been placed by the UK Government which would have not just put businesses at a competitive disadvantage, but introduced a huge level of uncertainty in relation to the DRS.”
The future of Circularity Scotland – which is industry-funded – remains uncertain following the delay.
The First Minister said he had been assured that businesses would “take a pragmatic approach” to the funding of the body, and they would “look to see what more they can do to support CSL in the months and years to come”.