Rates relief for retailers
First Minister announces support for shops tackling throwaway culture.
Retailers required to accept the return of single-use drinks containers could qualify for rates relief, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
In 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 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:
“SGF is delighted that the First Minister has chosen to make this announcement at our annual conference.
“We have made a very strong case for this rates relief and we are proud to say that the Scottish Government has listened and delivered something of real benefit to the industry.”
Minsters announced details of the Deposit Return Scheme on 8 May. The scheme will cover single-use drinks containers made of glass, metal or PET plastic (the most common form of plastic used for drinks packaging).
The draft legislation to establish the scheme was laid in Parliament on 10 September and views are sought by 10 December.
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.
A new 100% non-domestic rates relief for RVMs will take effect from 1 April 2020 in preparation for the scheme going live. The relief will run indefinitely, ensuring that non-domestic rates do not rise for retailers as a result of the installation of RVMs.