In a statement on 18 April, Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that Scotland’s deposit return scheme would be delayed to 1 March 2024. The additional time would be used to work with businesses to address concerns with the scheme.
A package of measures to simplify the scheme and support small businesses has also been announced. The changes are:
- drinks containers of under 100ml (instead of 50ml) will be excluded;
- products that sell fewer than 5,000 units per year will be excluded;
- all hospitality premises that sell a large majority of their drinks products for consumption on the premises will be exempt from acting as a return point; and
- the online application process for retailers to apply for an exemption from providing a return point has been simplified.
The 5,000 units per year threshold is expected to remove only 0.5% of drinks containers from the scheme, but will remove the need for 44% of businesses to apply a deposit to their products. The changes are subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament.
Drinks producers have until 12 January 2024 to register for the scheme. More information on requirements under the scheme for producers, retailers and wholesalers can be found here.
There remains a live consultation on the VAT treatment of statutory deposit return schemes introduced in the UK.
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