Scottish Government unveils new deal for business and Deposit Return Scheme delay

Scottish Government unveils new deal for business and Deposit Return Scheme delay

Mark Kent

First Minister Humza Yousaf has unveiled a policy prospectus outlining the Scottish Government’s objectives for the next three years, focusing on equality, opportunity, and community.

Key financial and economic initiatives include a ‘New Deal for Scottish Business’ aimed at using Non-Domestic Rates to support businesses and communities, a £1.3 billion investment for the Scottish Child Payment over the next three years, and a £25 million investment to convert properties into affordable homes for key workers in remote and rural areas.

Additionally the Deposit Return Scheme’s launch has been postponed to March 2024, and proposals on alcohol advertising will be reconsidered. The government will also seek a new agreement with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to support shared priorities and provide councils with powers to apply a Local Visitor Levy on overnight stays.

Dr. Liz Cameron CBE, CEO of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the DRS’ delay, calling for the government to work with the business community to address concerns. Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Mark Kent also appreciated the delay and the reconsideration of the alcohol marketing consultation, expressing a desire to work with the government on these initiatives.

Mr Kent said: “This is a very welcome announcement by the First Minister, who has listened to the concerns voiced by industry on the alcohol marketing consultation and the Deposit Return Scheme.

“More widely, he has signalled a reset with the Scottish business community so the Scotch Whisky industry and other sectors can help the Scottish government drive economic growth, creating prosperity and opportunity across the nation.”

He continued: “Our industry has always supported the goals of the Deposit Return Scheme, but the Scottish DRS as currently devised would hamper the efforts of businesses across the country to reduce waste and bring about a more circular economy.

“The delay until March 2024 and full review in the coming months will enable us to work with government to ensure DRS is aligned with other systems across the UK and to once again look at the exclusion of glass, which the experience of international schemes tells us will help to simplify the scheme, and reduce the cost for businesses and consumers.”

Mr Kent added: “The Scotch Whisky industry is also aligned with the Scottish government on reducing alcohol misuse. The sweeping proposals set out in last year’s consultation would have distracted from that goal and would have caused unnecessary damage to the Scottish economy and society.

“The First minister recognised the need to reconsider this during the SNP leadership campaign and he has now followed through on his promise to withdraw the current proposals, and we look forward to working in partnership with government to promote moderation and reduce harmful consumption.”

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