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DRS Enforcement Delay Required as Unanswered Questions Linger

UKHospitality Scotland has asked the Scottish Government to delay any enforcement of Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) regulations until businesses have the required information and time to prepare properly.

In a letter to the Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater MSP, UKHospitality Scotland highlighted that, despite the best efforts of businesses, they are still unable to adequately prepare for the planned introduction of the DRS scheme on 16 August.

There remain unanswered questions on monitoring returns, accounting, deposit refunds, exemptions, and VAT. A commitment from the Scottish Government that it will not enforce the regulation immediately, recognising that businesses are doing all they can to prepare with limited information, would provide significant reassurance.

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“There is deep concern among Scottish hospitality businesses that the sheer lack of clarity on key issues, like VAT and monitoring, will mean they are simply unable to be ready for the launch of DRS in August.

“These are businesses that are committed to a successful scheme and, in some cases, are international companies with a great deal of experience with DRS in other countries. The fact they still have these concerns, so close to the start date, demonstrates the poor state of preparedness of the scheme.

“Venues are desperate for more information but with that not forthcoming, the Scottish Government and SEPA should extend an olive branch to business and make a public commitment to at least delay enforcement of the regulations at the go live date of 16 August for an extended period, while businesses adapt. Without it, there are many nervous businesses that fear they could face repercussions through no fault of their own.

“Making such a commitment would show the Scottish Government understands the concerns of business and wants to work with them, not against them.”