Rishi Sunak suggests SNP reconsider DRS at PMQs


Rishi Sunak

During today’s (24 May) Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Rishi Sunak suggested the SNP “reconsider” its deposit return scheme (DRS) policy to “do their bit” to help consumers.

Speaking during PMQs, leader of the SNP in the House of Commons Stephen Flynn asked the PM when he expects the review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on unit pricing to conclude.

Flynn also said that food inflation remains at a near 45-year high and the Treasury indicated the Chancellor stands ready to act but his actions seem “predicated” on the review by the CMA.

In response, Sunak said the CMA is independent of government and that the UK government is doing everything it can to help consumers manage the challenges of the cost of living crisis, before going on to criticise the SNP’s DRS policy.

It’s very clear what people have said – it will reduce choice and increase prices for consumers.

“If the SNP wanted to do their bit, they could reconsider their DRS. It’s very clear what people have said – it will reduce choice and increase prices for consumers,” Sunak said.

Yesterday (23 May), the Treasury announced that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, met with the CMA and heard more about the scope of their investigations into road fuel and its work on groceries prices, including the possible action it could take.

The Chancellor said the UK government “stands ready” to update pricing rules and guidance on the back of the CMA’s review of unit pricing.

The Scottish DRS


In March, Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey told MPs in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee that the “best outcome” for DRS policy would be one scheme aligned across UK nations.

Earlier this year, First Minister (FM) Humza Yousaf announced the Scottish deposit return scheme has been delayed until 1 March 2024.

In his first key Holyrood speech, Yousaf said: “I remain committed to this scheme as a way to increase recycling, to reduce litter on our streets and beaches, and help achieve our net zero ambitions. But we recognise the uncertainty that continues to be created as a result, of course, of the UK government delaying the decision to exclude the scheme from the Internal Market Act.

But we recognise the uncertainty that continues to be created.

“Of course, we had hoped for a decision on that this week but it has not come. At the same time, I and the Circular Economy Minister have heard the concerns of business, particularly about the scheme’s readiness for launch this August, and as a result, we will now delay the launch of the scheme to 1 March 2024.”

Following the delay, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater announced a range of measures aimed at making it easier for drinks producers and retailers to prepare for the Scottish DRS.

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