Retailers required to accept the return of single-use drinks containers could qualify for rates relief, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
As a result of the First Minister’s announcement, shops have been guaranteed that their rates will not rise should they choose to install a reverse vending machine (RVM) to allow automated returns.
Speaking at the Scottish Grocers’ Federation annual conference in Glasgow (25 October), the First Minister said: “Retailers will be critical to the success of our planned Deposit Return Scheme and by introducing rates relief, we are supporting them to play their part.”
The announcement was perfectly timed; there was much conference debate about RVM installations increasing business rates.
After the unwanted and unexpected inclusion of glass in the face of widespread opposition from wholesalers and retailers alike, the news is a further sign the Scottish Government is finally listening to industry voices about the Deposit Return Scheme; exemptions for small stores were secured in the wake of concerted lobbying by SGF, which also pushed heavily over rates relief.
The Federation’s Chief Executive Pete Cheema commented: “We have made a very strong case for this rates relief and we are proud to say that the Scottish Government has listened and delivered something of real benefit to the industry.”
A new 100% non-domestic rates relief for RVMs will take effect from 1 April 2020 in preparation for the scheme’s anticipated launch in April 2021. The relief will run indefinitely, ensuring non-domestic rates do not rise for retailers as a result of the installation of RVMs.