McArthur: Deposit return chaos shows “breakdown in ministerial responsibility”

28 Feb 2023
Liam McArthur MSP

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat climate emergency spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said the deposit return scheme has triggered a “breakdown in ministerial responsibility” amid a lack of clarity, adverse impacts on business and potential trade barriers.  

Finance Secretary and SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes has said it could cause “economic carnage” while Christine Grahame MSP said businesses in her constituency are “all at a loss” and “all confused by it”.

Earlier today, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater also appeared on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme where she suggested that her colleague Kate Forbes should contact Circularity Scotland, SEPA or Zero Waste Scotland if she had any questions on how DRS worked.  

Speaking in Parliament, Mr McArthur said:  

“The Finance Secretary, who presumably signed off these proposals around the Cabinet table, has suggested that if implemented, the DRS could lead to economic carnage.

“In light of this complete breakdown in ministerial responsibility, and in order to rebuild confidence within the business community, the wider public and even in this SNP/Green coalition, will the minister now agree to pause, to undertake that review and ensure that the proposals brought forward in Scotland command that confidence and can be as successful as we’ve seen in countries around Europe?”

Speaking after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:  

“As the minister puts the blinkers on and bulldozes her way through this mess, she leaves businesses to clear up her wreckage.  Asking cabinet colleagues to ring up a helpline shows they have lost the plot.

“Vital questions remain unanswered. Today’s deadline and the rushed timetable for implementation as a whole puts businesses in an impossible position and leaves many worried about their future. Small businesses are extremely vulnerable and Scotland’s drinks sector, jobs and consumer choice are all under threat.  

“This SNP/Green Government must press pause and take stock if it is to avoid harming businesses, damaging public confidence and undermining the case for a deposit return scheme.”  

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