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by Kirsteen Paterson
29 May 2023
DRS: Lorna Slater under pressure for answers as UK Government calls for change

Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie

DRS: Lorna Slater under pressure for answers as UK Government calls for change

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater is under pressure to deliver a statement to the Scottish Parliament this week over the troubled Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) after the UK Government called for changes.

Last week the Green MSP told Holyrood it was "all systems go" for the long-planned waste scheme, which would see a refundable 20p levy placed on single-use drinks containers.

Late on Friday, UK ministers said they would only agree the Internal Market Act exemption needed for its rollout if glass is not included.

The material is excluded from plans to launch a similar scheme in England and Northern Ireland and First Minister Humza Yousaf has accused the UK Government of "not just trying to scupper the deposit return scheme - they're trying to undermine devolution".

A UK Government spokesperson said: "Deposit return schemes need to be consistent across the UK and this is the best way to provide a simple and effective system.

"A system with the same rules for the whole UK will increase recycling collection rates and reduce litter, as well as minimise disruption to the drinks industry and ensure simplicity for consumers."

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Show, Slater said the UK Government's response had caused "massive uncertainty", saying: "That is an outrageous thing to do when businesses in Scotland have invested around £300m in the scheme, have recruited people, have put in place the infrastructure to handle glass. To now say they're not going to allow that is a democratic outrage."

Slater said it will "take a bit of time to evaluate a scheme without glass and to understand how this will affect Scottish business".

However, she said her team will provide clarity "as quickly as possible".

Labour's net zero spokesperson Sarah Boyack called on Slater to "make a statement in parliament this week", saying businesses "need certainty" from the Scottish Government.

Boyack said: "This war of words between the UK and Scottish governments does nothing for Scottish businesses and producers, consumers or our environment."

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