South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has accused the Scottish Government of failing to take cross border complications seriously enough in the planning and design of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme.
It comes as response from the Scottish Government to Parliamentary Questions from Colin Smyth MSP stated, “as a result of the relatively low levels of the Scottish population with easy access to English market, the impacts of a Scottish deposit return scheme were unlikely to be significant.”
The Deposit Return Scheme which is currently subject to a consultation by the Scottish Government would see bottles and cans purchased in Scotland subject to the Scheme but those purchased in Carlisle or South of the Border won’t. This could lead to a number of bottles purchased south of the Border being returned to outlets in Scotland.
Bottles and cans sold in Scotland will have an additional 20p added to the price, which a consumer can then get back when the bottle or can is returned. All retailers and organisations who sell bottles and cans within Scotland will need to implement the Scheme.
Colin Smyth is seriously concerned that the Scottish Government could be setting up local businesses to fail in Gretna and the surrounding area because they don’t recognise the high number of cross border journeys made by local people.
Colin Smyth said, “The Deposit Return Scheme is aimed at tackling the Climate Emergency that we face. However, because the UK Government are falling behind and not yet brought forward a scheme for England, one will be introduced in Scotland before anywhere else. it is clear that the Scottish Government have failed to appreciate the implications of this as a result of the close cross border relationship we have with has with the North of England. With nearly 10,000 people travelling from Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders commuting to Cumbria and Northumberland daily for work and many more travelling for shopping and leisure purposes the Scottish Government is failing to understand the high number of people who make daily shopping trips south of the Border”.
“The Scottish Government are setting local businesses on Scottish border of the border to fail if protections are not put in place. While there are relatively low level of the entire Scottish population with easy access to the English market, people in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders could well purchase bottles and cans in England without the 20p added but then return then to local businesses in Scotland who will pay back 20p for every item. This could lead to them being out of pocket and being set up to fail by the Scottish Government.”