Home Business Yousaf calls on Sunak to withdraw ruling on DRS – Daily Business

Yousaf calls on Sunak to withdraw ruling on DRS – Daily Business

Yousaf and Sunak

Yousaf and SunakHumza Yousaf wants Rishi Sunak to reverse the DRS decision on Monday

The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, has written to the Prime Minister urging him to withdraw the British government’s rejection of glass in Scotland’s deposit system.

As the row over the plan becomes a focal point of constitutional debate, he accuses Westminster of reneging on previous agreements, failing to respect devolution, harming the environment and says his actions will adversely affect companies based in Scotland .

Mr Yousaf has demanded a response by Monday, noting concerns expressed last week by Tennent’s Dublin-based owner, C&C, that “the UK government’s decision to remove glass threatens investment and jobs .”

The First Minister adds that “other Scottish companies have privately raised similar concerns with us”.

He says: “We cannot and will not put Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage through the UK Government’s 11-hour changes to materials supply, impacting Scottish jobs, inward investment and potentially reducing consumer choice in Scotland. “

The UK government has said it will only allow the scheme to proceed if the glass is removed as a step towards a UK-wide scheme. On that basis, it would grant an exemption under the Internal Market Act, which aims to create a level playing field in the UK post-Brexit.

Yesterday, Innis & Gunn founder Dougal Sharp reiterated his opinion that the plan is impracticable in its current form and disputed Circularity Secretary Lorna Slater’s claim that it is ready to go.

“I’ve lived and breathed this for years, and its evolution, and I think if you talk to any of the big companies in Scotland – either retailers or manufacturers – no one really believes that this plan is ready to go,” he said .

“It wasn’t ready in August, and certainly won’t be in March next year, because there are hundreds of unanswered questions about how this will work in practice.”

Mr Sharp said whether glass was included or not the “price this will impose on consumers will be significant” with “£20, £30, £40 extra in your shop account each week” of which customers would not get all of it back .

Dougal Sharp: The plan is absolute madness

“Whether Westminster’s intervention is useful or not useful, as it stands or as drafted, the scheme is absolute madness for consumers and will in fact lead to potentially less recycling rather than more in Scotland, which I find absurd find.”

Scottish government ministers say there is already legislation delegating the decision on setting up a DRS and that the UK government is not only being hypocritical, but contradicting the Bute House agreement on devolution.

In his letter to Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister says: “This intervention by the British government at such a late stage shows a major erosion of the devolution regime.”

Speaking at a meeting in Glasgow today, Mr Yousaf warned that attempts to sabotage Scotland’s deposit scheme are “the thin end of the wedge”.

While taking part in an SNP national day of action, the first minister said an “increasingly unpredictable and erratic” Westminster government was making it more difficult to make Scotland a better place to live, work and do business.

His remarks follow the revelation by the First Minister of Wales that the Welsh Government had received a letter from the UK Government tearing up an earlier commitment to respect Welsh devolution on the matter – warning them that they also had to abide by the UK’s unilateral decision to remove glass from their scheme.

The full text of Mr. Yousaf’s letter to Mr. Sunak is below:

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

02 June 2023

Dear Rishi,

On Friday 26 May, the Secretaries of State for DEFRA, LUHC and Scotland wrote to me that the UK Government is unwilling to agree to a full Internal Market Act exclusion for the Scottish Deposit Return System (DRS), and instead recommend insist on the exclusion of glass, among other things.

These conditions will have a major impact on the environment and adversely affect businesses based in Scotland.

Specifically, the letter says the UK government is only willing to agree to a temporary lockout if we remove glass, agree a UK-wide limit on deposit levels, reach reconciliation between scheme managers to ensure fair distribution of payments, have one administration fee per participating company, and agree on one common UK logo. The removal of glass poses a fundamental threat to the viability of the DRS in Scotland, with reduced revenue for the system operator.

Removing glass will also have a significant impact on business. For example, C&C Group, owner of the iconic Tennent’s brand, has said emphatically that the UK government’s decision to remove glass threatens investment and jobs. Other Scottish companies have privately raised similar concerns with us.

We cannot and will not place Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage due to the UK Government’s 11th hour changes to materials supply, impacting Scottish jobs, inward investment and potentially reducing consumer choice in Scotland.

The UK government planned to include glass in the UK DRS from 2019 to March 2022 – two years after our regulations were passed by the Scottish Parliament, and we have planned our plan on this basis. As recently as January 2023, the UK government confirmed that it was up to devolved governments to decide the scope of their DRS. It was the intention of the Welsh Government to include glass in their DRS, meaning that the English scheme is not in line with the design of other UK schemes.

With regard to interoperability, we have already worked with your officials to ensure alignment and we agree in principle that this is desirable. However, the conditions imposed by your letter of 26 May are so poorly detailed that it is practically impossible to meet this requirement. The reality is that your scheme is in such an early stage of development that you are unable to provide the operational details necessary to make the schemes interoperable.

Businesses need certainty and they need it now – not two years from now when the UK Government’s scheme hopefully kicks in. The UK government has significantly undermined the clarity and certainty that businesses unanimously tell us they need.

Companies need hard evidence that the UK scheme will actually start in 2025. There is no UK legislation in place or no scheme administrator has been appointed. Until the full design and timelines of your DRS are in place, it’s unclear what operational details we’re being asked to align or agree to.

Essentially your letter asks the Scottish Government to either remove the glass and join a list of unfinalized and vague terms so that we can proceed into March 2024, or postpone and adapt to a more limited plan by the UK government which, quite frankly, is unlikely to go ahead. in October 2025.

The decision has much wider implications. This intervention by the UK government at such a late stage shows a major erosion of the devolution regime. I urge you to withdraw the conditions set out in your letter and allow a full exclusion for Scotland’s DRS, which must be carried out under the regulations approved by the Scottish Parliament in this area of delegated authority.

Without it, the Scottish Government is unwilling to put Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage because of the last-minute demands made by the UK Government. There is little doubt that your government’s actions have put the future of DRS in great jeopardy, not only in Scotland but also in the rest of the UK, by damaging consumer and investor confidence.

I would be grateful for an answer before Monday 5 June, so that my cabinet can look into the matter and the Scottish Parliament can be kept informed afterwards.



The Scottish Government has applied to the UK Government for a full exclusion under the Internal Market Act, which would allow Scotland’s all-in DRS, including glass, to go ahead in March 2024.

On Friday 26 May, after nearly two years of discussion, the Scottish Government learned that the UK Government is only prepared to grant a temporary exclusion if certain conditions are met, including the removal of glass from the scheme – a key component of the Scottish DRS proposals.

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