The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has welcomed the news that the DRS will be delayed until next spring, with chief executive Colin Smith positive about the Scottish government’s commitment to support small businesses impacted by the scheme.
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP announced that there will be a delay to the introduction as part of a speech on his priorities for government over the next three years. It was due to go live on 16th August but will now be delayed until 1st March 2024. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced plans for a Deposit Return Scheme, coming into force in 2025.
Smith said: “We await the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity’s speech on Thursday when we will get further details of plans to simplify the scheme and what that will mean for Scotland’s wholesale sector. It’s now essential that the Scottish Government, CSL, Seap and business work together so we can address the myriad practical issues still standing in the way of a workable DRS being launched in March.
Read more: SWA warns Scottish government to make urgent DRS changes
“SWA has been pushing hard for a de-minimis approach to ensure wholesalers putting small volumes of a product on to the market aren’t hit hard by DRS and consumer choice isn’t reduced significantly. We believe that approach would help small importers but it would also reduce the numbers of producers CSL has to deal with, thereby simplifying and de-risking Scotland’s DRS,” he added.
ACS chief executive James Lowman expressed his disappointed and not being able to meet the timetable for DRS in Scotland, but local shops will welcome the additional time to ensure that the scheme can run as smoothly as possible when it is introduced next March. “Despite the delay, there will still be a 19-month period where the scheme will be operating in Scotland but not in the rest of the UK and this will cause issues, particularly for wholesalers and smaller suppliers.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the DRS news, the Scottish Licenced Trade Association has welcomed the reversal of plans for a major clampdown on alcohol advertising in Scotland.
“While supporting the aim of proposals that went out to consultation last November – to reduce the harm caused by alcohol to children – he accepted that the industry was concerned given current numerous challenges and confirmed that officials would “take these ideas back to the drawing board,” said SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson.