Trade body asks Scottish Government to consider challenges with DRS deadline

Empty bottles and cans

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) is calling on the Scottish Government to consider the challenges with its deposit return scheme deadline.

Earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed an update is due shortly on the implementation timetable for a deposit return scheme in Scotland. Under current plans, unless exempt, all retailers in Scotland will be required to take back containers once the scheme comes into force. All retailers will be required to charge the 20p deposit on eligible containers.

In response to the news, the BSDA, said: “At present, Scotland’s DRS is due to start in July 2022. We do not believe this date to be practicable for a range of reasons. For one, drinks producers – like so many other sectors – have been dealing with a whirlwind of issues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The hospitality sector went into full shutdown mode from March 2020, with a return to the normality that we once took for granted yet to materialise.

“Not only that, many drinks businesses and their retail customers are currently experiencing severe, ongoing problems with logistics, particularly the paucity of HGV drivers available to fulfil delivery orders, causing delays and cancellations.

“Specifically related to Scotland’s DRS itself, there is still uncertainty as to whether DRS deposits will be subject to as yet undefined VAT rules.”

The trade body added that the soft drinks sector is still doing what it can to help a DRS in Scotland “see the light of day as soon as is practicably possible”.

BSDA added: “With the clock ticking towards the current go-live date in Scotland, we urge the Scottish Government to consider the wide-ranging challenges facing consumers and industry and respond by providing a pragmatic, revised, go-live deadline that will help ensure delivery of a well-designed DRS system in Scotland that works for everyone.”

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