“The Deposit Return Scheme is a bourach”

Tuesday February 28th 2023

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Midlothian Council has now passed its budget cross-party with only two councillors abstaining. It has been hard all round because everyone’s budgets, from government to us as individuals is suffering from inflation, energy and food in particular.

Speaking of food those empty shelves in the supermarket may be something we’ll have to get used to. It isn’t all down to bad weather in Portugal and elsewhere where our tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are grown. Yes, it’s back to Brexit and the fact the we are now finding our access to European markets less easy. It’s another Brexit bonus.

Some MP wummin suggested we eat turnips. It’s a bit like Marie Antoinette and her “let them eat cake” advice to the starving masses – though I don’t think she actually said that. I actually don’t mind turnip especially with tatties and haggis. Even just mashed in with tatties it’s just right for a cold day. Used to be we only ate the food that was seasonal and maybe we’re being driven back to that. Besides winter tomatoes taste of nothing ;nothing like those of the summer.

Brexit has a lot to answer for. Did you know that the price of building materials has gone through the roof? This has put up the cost of new builds of all sorts: houses, schools and so on. Add to that the shortage of trades and delays are now costly and commonplace. So much for Boris Johnson’s “Oven-ready” Brexit deal. Not only have we 10% inflation, 17% food inflation, food shortages, we have building materials, staff and trades shortages. It’s no so much a Brexit bonus as a Brexit Bourach.

Another bourach hitting the headlines is what is known as the Deposit Return Scheme which, when, perhaps if, it goes live in August means we will all pay 20p on each can or bottle of drinks we buy. The idea is that we then take these (washed and in the case of cans-not bashed in) to be deposited in a container which will then give us credits for the value. These will probably be in supermarkets. Sounds a good idea and it is, but not properly thought through.

What happens to kerbside collections? For example only bottles will be collected not jam jars or vinegar bottles-where will we put these? If you are a small shop, you probably won’t have the space to recycle so your customers pay the charge and another business ,probably a supermarket, gets the benefit. If you buy your groceries on-line who picks up the recycling and how are you given the credits or cash?

The deadline too for businesses to register is tonight, 28th February by midnight and I can’t for a moment see this working unless you are a large retailer. The threat is, if you don’t do this in time you might not be able to trade. Small craft brewers have been in touch with me because its chaotic and financially difficult but the Green Minister will not budge.

The three contenders for leader of the SNP have at the very least suggested a pause.

By the way, I’m supporting Kate Forbes. She is head and shoulders above the other candidates and with her financial background will focus on the economy which is what we need to provide the funding for our public services.

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