The Deposit Return Scheme is a threat to the Scottish Craft Beer Industry


The Otherworld Brewery in Hardengreen, Midlothian.

This View has been written Theo Barnes, a brewer at Midlothian’s Otherworld Brewery in Hardengreen.

The Deposit Return Scheme, DRS, is fast approaching introduction by the Scottish government. There is next to no public awareness of how badly this would affect Scottish business, the Scottish and UK economy, and the general public.

The craft beer industry supports a working DRS, we want to be part of a sustainable future with a circular recycling economy. The SNP and Green government has not produced a working DRS scheme, it is anti-business and will eliminate the diverse economic environment in Scotland.

How does it work? A customer buys a can or bottle of, for my sake beer, where they pay a 20p deposit. You drink it and eventually return it to a proposed automatic recycling machine or a return point in a place like a supermarket. Seems fine? That’s where it ends.

For the business that made that beer, first they will need to register with SEPA and Circularity Scotland, CS, the company the Scottish government will be using to make their scheme work. First comes a flat fee with participation in the scheme of £360.

Whether you produce billions of litres a year like Tennents, or produce 35,500 litres like I did last year, you pay the same. This is one of many anti-competitive problems. Big businesses absorbs non consequential costs, tiny competitors will be disproportionately affected.

Next is another cost, each producer pays a 20p deposit on every can prior to the customer also paying that deposit. Say we make 10,000 cans of beer, we will have to pay £2,000. We could get the money back when the can is marked as recycled by CS (unclear if this is VAT inc).

But this will take money out of the business for months causing major cashflow problems to small producers who work on a knife edge that large businesses do not. Small businesses here are acting as part of a guarantor, a bank to finance the scheme and it will crush them.

A producer fee per container is also added to this cost. This is probably going to be variable around the type of container to cover handling and recycling costs, so we’ll pay for that too. An extra actual cost to the finances of each business.

Loss of diversity. Each product will need to be registered with their unique barcode SKU 6 weeks before going to market. This lead time does not exist for businesses that develop exciting new beers each time. Special releases, flexibility in design or description. All gone.

Fine if you have a core range of a handful of products like macro breweries. Many smaller craft beer producers do not operate to a core range model, we thrive on creative space to change and adjust each unique beer to the point of release which this plan does not accommodate.

Fines. If your product does not reach a recycled amount, I believe 80%, a fine is due. I’ve heard CS are the ones picking this up. Its vague. Another risk that if fines are passed on big business will be able to afford this, while small businesses will be eaten up.

Have you ever stored a bottle away for ageing or drinking later. Ever broken a bottle or peeled off a can label which has the identifying barcode on it. Have you ever not recycled something because convenience wasn’t worth the cost of 20p.

Have you ever given a bottle to a friend not in Scotland? These are the things that take our barcodes out of the system and almost guarantee fines. We are accountable for every gram of aluminium or glass that leaves the brewery. Our liability is then in the consumer’s hands.

The UK single market! The scheme will create an economic border between Scotland and rUK. So it will become another creeping constitutional crisis.

Scottish producers will need to make products that differ in barcode or label for sale in rUK or Scotland. rUK producers will need to do the same for sale into Scotland and also register to sell and be liable to the fines. The frictionless flow of products will be hindered.

Consumer choice. Some Scottish breweries are considering either not selling in Scotland at all and just ‘exporting’ to rUK because losing a local economy is better than dealing on the terms of this scheme and it’s risks. The local economy is also better for carbon footprint.

Businesses outside Scotland from all over the world will not be thinking about signing up for this risk. Shops that deal in a range of craft or artisanal products you could lose their range. You will be left with supermarket range, and a reduced range in that too.

I love a Tennents, but the UK had this in the 70s after macro brewery consolidations. The choice of product gets very thin very fast. A less diverse economy, monopolisation, and macros battling it out to scrape the bottom of value. Leaves no choice for the consumer.

Engagement and communication are needed from the SNP Green government. The success story of the last 15 years craft beer industry is one of many voices that have been shouting about these problems and it has been hit with silence. Vagaries are inbuilt. Overhaul is needed.

Scottish Labour this is an opportunity to show your pro-business, economic and green competence, and constitutional clarity. Please take a stand on this issue. Working DRS schemes exist all over the world. One of them please. This will absolutely shatter the Scottish economy.

Oh, probably say goodbye to bottles. The recycling will be done by weight and you can get volumes more cans crushed and dispatched so bottles will be more challenging.

These points only scratch the surface of the volumes of problems to come.

David Lloyd Shawfair starts taking on members


Photo of the spa at David Lloyd Bicester.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

David Lloyd Leisure has launched early membership via its website for the eagerly awaited David Lloyd Edinburgh Shawfair, opening in summer 2023, following strong interest from locals who have registered for updates in recent months.

Launching online joining for the new club, David Lloyd Leisure is enabling people to secure their membership at this brand new club prior to opening with a discounted introductory rate, ensuring that they get the best deal possible and also don’t miss out on becoming a member at what is already proving to be a hugely popular location.

The centrepiece of David Lloyd Edinburgh Shawfair will be the 100+ station gym, which will house David Lloyd Clubs’ cutting-edge gym concept with an unrivalled array of best-in-class equipment. There will be four bespoke designed studios which will offer high-octane High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes, such as Blaze, to group cycling in Cyclone and mind and body classes such as SPIRIT.

A 20m indoor and a 25m outdoor heated swimming pool will offer a range of activities, including aqua aerobics, family swim times and quiet adult swim sessions. The new club will also feature three outdoor paddle courts plus four tennis courts inside an aerodome.

For families with children, private swimming lessons and tennis coaching will be available, and children can take part in daily activities and holiday clubs that offer fun and active solutions for parents trying to keep the little ones entertained. Sessions will take place in a dedicated DL Kids zone and will be synchronised with the adult group exercise programme to give parents and guardians an opportunity to focus on their own fitness with the peace of mind that their children are being cared for.

For those looking for a luxurious wellness experience, the impressive indoor spa facilities will include a Himalayan salt sauna, rainforest experience shower, hydrotherapy pool, heated beds, and a deep relax room to create a sanctuary of relaxation to recharge, revive and rejuvenate.

There will also be a Clubroom at the heart of the club, which will be carefully zoned to meet member needs, including a dining area with freshly cooked meals and a business area to catch up with work in peaceful surroundings. Families will love the dedicated family area with eating areas and an indoor playframe. An outdoor patio area will offer a space for outdoor dining and socialising on warmer days and evenings, with playground facilities for the children.

The club will have a 250-space carpark and is well-connected to Edinburgh and surrounding towns in Midlothian and East Lothian by nearby bus, rail and cycle links.

Michelle Chambers-Cran, Regional Manager at David Lloyd Leisure, said:

“We are so excited to start building our community of members at David Lloyd Edinburgh Shawfair.

“Even though we are several months off completion, there has already been huge interest, with many people registering on the website for updates.

“David Lloyd Edinburgh Shawfair will not just be a gym – it will be a complete leisure destination, and we can’t wait to welcome our new members in the summer.”

To secure membership at David Lloyd Edinburgh Shawfair and join today on the introductory offer, visit www.davidlloyd.co.uk/edinburghshawfair.

2023 Bid Trends – What’s Coming for Bids and Proposals?


This View was written by East Lothian’s Andrew Morrison, founder of AM Bid, Co-Creator of Ultimate Tender Coach and APMP Global Thought Leader of the Year (2022).

2022 was the year when the term VUCA really came into its own. The acronym describes a world which is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, and most people would now agree with this description of the systems that we live and work within.

The UK economy suffered two seismic shocks last year: the war in Ukraine with its effects on energy prices and supply chains; and the UK Government’s September ‘fiscal event’ which led to severe corrections in the economy and a steep hike in interest rates.

Against this background, along with other emergencies such as the climate and COVID-19, bidders are required to adopt both macro and micro views when designing services and importantly pricing commercial risks across tendered contracts.

What are buyers/clients, and therefore bidders, likely to be focused on in 2023?

1. Value for Money – Bids that can demonstrate cost-effective delivery, for example by providing efficiencies/savings/added value will be well-received by clients many of whom will be facing financial cuts just to keep the lights on. Look for opportunities to reimagine services and take your proposals to the market/clients ahead of tender processes commencing.

2. Business Resilience – With a recession which may last throughout 2023, there will be many business failures. No client wants to be contracting with the next Carillion, so expect closer scrutiny of bidders’ financial and business resilience.

3. Procurement Bill 2022 – This is due to become law around the summer. Main changes will be some simplification of the procurement regime and a move to Most Advantageous Tender (MAT) to allow authorities to give increased weight to factors other than price e.g. social value. Note, though, this legislation will only apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is unlikely to apply to the NHS and will not apply at all in Scotland.

4. Sustainability – More robust carbon reduction plans with specific baselining and a clear roadway to net zero with milestone targets along the way will be examined more closely by evaluators.

5. B Corp – Bidders that can evidence their commitments to people and planet as well as profit will be well-placed to win work, especially with the public sector.

6. Cyber Security – Many clients are ramping up their IT/data security expectations. Bidders that move up the data security ladder from Cyber Essentials through Cyber Essential Plus to ISO 27001 Information Security Management will provide buyers with some reassurance around their data, reputation and the safety of what can often be sensitive information.

7. Political Landscape – Clients and bidders alike will have one eye on the opinion polls given that there is now only two years or less before the next UK General Election. If this brings a change of government, then some sectors may undergo fairly significant changes. It is worth scrutinising the change control provisions of long-term contracts particularly if certain services/sectors look to be targets to be brought within state ownership/more direct control.

8. Labour Shortages – Rather unusually, there are currently labour shortages side-by-side with economic recession. How will your new contract be resourced? How responsive is your business to new ways of working and not mandating people to be at a fixed place of employment? What innovative ways do you have to encourage recruitment, including of the over-50s many of whom have exited the labour market in the last three years? Also, how well do you understand Generation Z and what makes young people tick including what attracts or puts them off an employer/workplace?

9. Technology – How quickly are you keeping up with new and emerging technologies? For example, are you deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your work? How are you using data analytics/insights in your contract delivery and to add real value for your clients?

10. Bid Consultancy – An increasing number of businesses are recognising the benefits of external specialist bidding assistance. This can cover all areas of bidding e.g. strategy, process, writing, management, training, recruitment and coaching. Look for consultants that have APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) qualified people. Some bidders are seeing the benefits of hiring graduates (or people with the right attitude and some of the core bid attributes) and providing them with structured training e.g. via the Ultimate Tender Coach digital programme.

More information available at: AM Bid: UK Bid Writing Specialists Creating Winning Bids and Proposals