Lorna Slater has been criticised after the Scottish government confirmed that companies that disbursed money for the failed deposit return scheme will not receive compensation. The Scottish Green Minister made the decision to end the recycling initiative in June after being asked by the UK government to remove the glass from it.
However, several organizations had already purchased equipment or renovated their stores to prepare them for their launch in March 2024. The Scottish Grocers Federation and the British Soft Drinks Association were two companies that invested in the project and tried to get some of their money back.
However, in response to a Freedom of information request from the Scottish Daily Express, government officials reiterated the position of Humza Yousaf and Slater that public money will no longer be spent on compensating companies.
They wrote: The overwhelming feedback from companies in June was that they could not prepare for a launch in March 2024 after the UK government’s decision on the Internal Market Act. A considerable majority of companies therefore supported the only remaining option in the face of Westminster’s intervention, which was to re-set the date at least in line with the UK’s declared goal of October 2025.
We do not believe that the measures to which we were obliged to take constitute an obligation to pay damages.
Companies that have paid processing fees to Sepa have been reimbursed, while several organisations owe money to Circularity Scotland, which plunged into administration with a loss of millions for the taxpayer. The Scottish government also confirmed that Ms Slater did not arrange meetings with any of the SNP leadership candidates during the contest, despite their differing views on their doomed project.
Kate Forbes stated that she would like to cut or adjust it after hearing the commercial concerns. Meanwhile, Ash Regan supported the option to cancel it altogether, and Humza Yousaf wanted it to continue in its current form. Despite these different views and the fourth review of the portal, in which it was found that these thoughts carry too much uncertainty for the implementation of the program, Ms. Slater never raised this issue in meetings.
She faced a vote of no confidence because of her chaotic handling of the situation, but survived thanks to a joint vote by the SNP and the Greens. The Scottish Conservatives have criticised the new revelations.
The Scottish Conservative Secretary for Net zero, Energy and Transport, Douglas Lumsden, told the Scottish Daily Express: All three candidates for the SNP leadership seemed to realise that Lorna Slater’s chaotic deposit return system was unworkable and deeply unpopular during the election campaign.
The fact that the Greens minister was finally allowed to push the programme until the last minute only shows the utter failure of the SNP to defend Scottish businesses and workers in the face of an unworkable green policy.
The incompetence of the SNP Greens has left businesses destitute, and it is only right that they should be compensated. The bad news is that it will be the Scottish taxpayer who will foot the bill, while Lorna Slater – the architect of this fiasco – remains in her job.