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The Scottish Government either does not understand or does not care about hospitality & drinks businesses

Coronavirus | 19 March, 2020

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has hit out at the Scottish Government for burdening business with costly new legislation when many in the hospitality sector are on the verge of collapse.

Earlier this week the Scottish Government announced legislation to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), which includes glass, for Summer 2022.

This comes at a time when UK pubs, bars, restaurants and their suppliers are struggling to cope with unprecedented pressure as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Sadly, for many there is a very real prospect that their businesses will fold, and the hospitality sector will take years to recover from the losses.

The WSTA has labelled the move by the Scottish Government to plough on regardless as “completely insensitive”.

The industry body is calling on all UK Governments to suspend the introduction of any new legislation which will have a cost on UK businesses and which would put unnecessary strain on the drinks and hospitality sector.  

It asks the Scottish Government to follow the Northern Ireland Assembly’s lead, and pause all non-essential business, to allow scrutiny when the time is right on DRS Regulations and in order that activity does not distract from the delivery of public services dealing with the impact of Covid-19.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“It is completely insensitive to so many businesses at this most difficult time, that the Scottish Government has tabled this legislation.

“The majority of companies that will be affected by the introduction of DRS are currently under serious threat as a result of COVID-19, and adding extra financial burdens to their business shows a level of indifference by Scottish officials.

“We have long argued that glass bottles should be excluded from the scheme and that a higher rate of glass recycling could be best achieved by improved kerbside collection, but have been fearful that the Scottish Government is simply not listening.  

“The announcement earlier this week all but confirms exactly that. The Scottish Government’s actions run counter to the idea that they are open to scrutiny, interested in improving glass recycling, or in seeking to support businesses struggling at this time. This is a politically motivated decision at a most inopportune time.

“Rather than introduce new rules, the Government in Scotland and Governments in the rest of the UK should  follow the Northern Ireland Assembly’s lead and introduce a moratorium on all new legislation that has a financial impact on businesses and jobs until we are well clear of the current crisis.”

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