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SLTA Calls For ‘Grown-Up’ Approach To DRS – ‘Leaving Politics Out Of It’

The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) has welcomed the news that Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) will be delayed until at least October 2025, giving hospitality businesses the “breathing space they need to concentrate on the more pressing issues” – but warned that the next steps “must be the right steps, leaving politics out of it”.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said:

“We have always said that we will support a DRS that is workable and practicable for both businesses and consumers – the DRS proposed by the Scottish Government was not.

“Over five years ago, the SLTA, along with other hospitality trade and retail groups, told the Scottish Government that any DRS should be UK-wide and without glass, and include a standardised deposit charge, bar codes and labelling across the UK.

“Common sense has prevailed at last – yet the latest twist in this soap opera also throws up a whole load of questions: Will the UK be ready to implement a scheme in autumn 2025? Where does it leave Circularity Scotland (CLS), the scheme administrator in Scotland?

“It’s quite staggering when you consider how much time and financial investment has been invested by the hospitality and retail sectors, producers, and the Scottish Government in trying to plan a DRS for Scotland that is now going nowhere.

“It’s now time for reflection and pause for thought to consider the implications for everyone involved before taking any decisions on what happens next.”

Mr Wilkinson added: “It is hugely disappointing that DRS – something that should be a force for good – has been reduced to a tardy political battle. Businesses deserve better than this.

“The next steps must be the right steps with both the Scottish and UK governments and industry taking a grown-up approach – focusing on what is right for businesses and consumers – and leaving politics out of it.”