SIBA responds to latest Minister statement on Scottish Deposit Return Scheme

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Responding to the Scottish Minister’s statement today on the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme, SIBA Scottish Director Jamie Delap said:

“After many months of consideration, it is welcome that the Minister has today provided more certainty about the start date for Scotland’s ambitious Deposit Return Scheme. With a delay to August 2023 and a phased approach that small brewers called for, it will allow Global companies to voluntarily go first and give small producers more time to prepare.

“However there are many issues that are yet to be resolved and our concerns are not just limited to its timetable but also its costs and complexity, with small businesses facing average costs of £20,000 each to meet its onerous requirements and administrative burdens. The changes to online takeback announced today also do not go far enough.

“Unless these are addressed then consumers are likely to see the range of beers from small brewers being sold in Scotland dramatically reduced. Small brewers want to work with the Scottish Government to make the scheme successful but have not had the opportunity to meet with the Minister to discuss possible improvements.

“Small brewers lost ten years of growth last year with the closure of pubs and have accumulated of average £30,000 of debt each. With the Covid pandemic still ongoing and new hospitality restrictions announced only a few hours ago, the Scottish Government needs to acknowledge that it will take small businesses a long time to recover.”

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