Deposit return system: Circularity Scotland calls on administrators

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater told MSPs the UK government was to blame, but opposition parties said the Greens – who face a no-confidence vote in Holyrood – were to blame.

CONTINUE READING: Circularity Scotland faces collapse as drinks companies withdraw funds

It was revealed last Thursday that Circularity Scotland (CSL), which was set up to manage Scotland’s DRS, had sent staff home and warned them they might not be paid for the rest of the month unless their stakeholders agreed , to fund a “hibernation” until then. The program will start in October 2025.

However, the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Soft Drinks Association and the Scottish Retail Consortium later confirmed that they did not “have the confidence to commit further voluntary funds to the company”.

Responding to a question in Holyrood on the future of the company and the fate of its 60 employees, Ms Slater said: “We have learned today that an administrative appointment process is underway at CSL which is placing its employees in an extremely difficult position.”

“This is an unforgivable consequence of the UK Government’s last-minute intervention which has undermined our deposit return system, made progress impossible and is now resulting in the loss of these jobs.”

“This is clearly a worrying time for Circularity Scotland staff and we have been in regular contact with Circularity Scotland since the UK Government’s decision.”

The delay of the DRS was announced after UK ministers clarified that the Scottish Government would only get the needed derogation from UK Internal Market Act if it made a number of substantive changes.

These included removing glass from the scope of the system and demanding that ministers in Edinburgh agree to standardize deposit charging and labeling with the other UK systems.

Ms Slater said the lack of details on the terms set by Whitehall, including not knowing how much the bail fee would be, meant the deal could not go ahead as planned.

However, CSL insisted the scheme could meet the UK government’s demands and still start next March.

CONTINUE READING: The deposit return system will not be postponed until October 2025 at the earliest

Responding to a recent question from Labor’s Sarah Boyack in Parliament, Ms Slater said: “We continue to work with Circularity Scotland to see how we can support its staff, including providing PACE support, an initiative of the Scottish Government for advice.” and guidance for people at risk of dismissal.

“When the Scottish Government knew that circularity Scotland was facing financial challenges, we repeatedly warned the UK Government that failure to derogate UK Internal Market Law would put the system at risk.”

“At 9.45pm on Friday 26 May the UK Government, having initially spent the day briefing the media, informed us that it would only grant a partial, temporary and heavily conditional lockdown. It was clear then that the British government had torpedoed Scotland’s plan.”

Ms Slater said Circularity Scotland was “responsing to this situation that has been inflicted on us by the UK Government’s change of mind”.

Tory MP Douglas Lumsden pointed out that the Scottish National Investment Bank had invested £9m in Circularity Scotland.

“Is the money gone now?” he asked.

Ms Slater replied: “The Scottish National Investment Bank is independent of the Government and Ministers are not involved in the decision-making of the Scottish National Investment Bank.”

“His investments are a business and confidential matter between the bank and CSL.”

CONTINUE READING: Tories vote no-confidence in Lorna Slater

News of the government comes ahead of a vote of no confidence in Ms Slater. The Tory motion will be debated in Holyrood on Thursday night with support from Labor and the Liberal Democrats.

In response to the news from the Government, Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “Although Lorna Slater has confirmed that Circularity Scotland has gone into government – something which she says has been a ‘disaster’ for the workforce -, it still refuses to accept any responsibility for the collapse of its deposit-return scheme.

“Circularity Scotland itself, as well as the UK Government and other stakeholders, were absolutely aware that the project could have remained viable and implemented without glass, but instead they pulled the plug.

“The job losses and horrendous investment – ​​for which Scottish firms should be compensated – are entirely the result of their stubborn and stubborn decisions. No minister who has failed on such a scale can ever gain confidence and she must go now.”

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: “This is a significant and deeply frustrating development, leaving dozens of people looking for new jobs, undermining future investment and eroding confidence in what a UK program could achieve, if you consider it that it is the Tories who are to blame.” it collapses.

“People will rightly question Scottish Minister Alister Jack’s role in all of this, as well as the lack of climate leadership from his Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“Most significantly, however, is the sharp focus it has placed on Tories’ involvement in using Westminster’s powers to undermine the Scottish Parliament and the devolution agreement.”

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