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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Rates Relief for Retailers running Deposit Return Scheme

Retailers who accept the return of single-use drinks containers could qualify for rates relief, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has said.

On 08 May, Ministers announced their plans for a Deposit Return Scheme which would see all shops that sell bottles or cans of drink reimburse customers 20p per returned container.

As a result of the First Minister’s announcement, shops have been guaranteed that their rates bill will not rise should they choose to install a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) to allow automated returns.

Speaking at the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) annual conference in Glasgow, the First Minister said:

“The consequences of our throwaway culture can be seen in our streets, our countryside and our waters. But as well as being a depressing eyesore, the damage it causes our environment is irreversible.

“We recognise the global climate emergency and the need for everyone to work together to improve the lives of current and future generations. Retailers will be critical to the success of our planned Deposit Return Scheme and by introducing rates relief, we are supporting them to play their part.

“Retailers are already taking steps to reduce packaging and I look forward to the introduction of this scheme and the positive change in behaviour it will lead to.”

SGF Chief Executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said:

“We have made a very strong case for this rates relief and we are proud to say that the SNP Government has listened and delivered something of real benefit to the industry.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP added:

“This step is good for businesses and good for the environment. I am especially pleased that the relief will run indefinitely, ensuring that non-domestic rates do not rise for retailers as a result of the installation of RVMs.

“The scheme will cover single-use drinks containers made of glass, metal or polyethylene terephthalate plastic, the most common plastic used for drinks packaging.

“It is anticipated that as many as 3,000 shops will invest in RVMs as a result of the scheme, accepting up to 85% of all returned packaging. The remaining shops will operate a manual “over the counter” scheme.

“It should be as easy and appealing as possible for business owners and consumers to make use of the deposit return scheme and these measures will help achieve that.”

A new 100% non-domestic rates relief for RVMs will take effect from 01 April 2020 in preparation for the scheme going live.

The draft legislation to establish the scheme was laid in Parliament on 10 September and views are sought by 10 December. To participate in the consultation, please visit:


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