Scottish national councillor Mo Razzaq stressed to the Scottish Government that retailers should not be left to pay for the upcoming deposit return scheme (DRS). 

Speaking on a sustainability panel at the Scottish National Party Conference in Glasgow, alongside Coca-Cola’s head of public affairs, Jim Fox, and minister for rural affairs and the natural environment Mairi Gougeon, Razzaq called for subsidies for DRS machines.

“The cost of trading is going up year in, year out,” he said. “Retailers are under severe financial pressure, so machines need to be paid for, either by the government or someone else.

“Smaller retailers are community hubs and, if the burden is too high for them, running DRS will tip them over the edge.”

Razzaq, owner of a Family Shopper in Blantyre, called for the machines to include a charity donation button. “The charity should be nominated by the local community, not the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fox added cross-border fraud could be a problem without a UK-wide scheme.

“Some might bring containers from England to Scotland to make a profit,” said Razzaq. “Fox stressed the need for the UK to be united with Scotland on this.”

Razzaq also highlighted the benefits for retailers since introducing loose fruit and vegetables.

“I mentioned how the idea was so popular at the Local Shop Summit,” he said. “It really does help cut back on waste. What people need to remember is that smaller retailers are sustainable because they care about their community; it’s important for them to be protected.”

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