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C&C Group ‘misrepresented’ by Yousaf in DRS dispute

C&C Group, one of Scotland’s largest drinks producers which counts Tennent’s and Bulmers among its brands, has called out First Minister Humza Yousaf for misrepresenting its stance on the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

C&C Group 'misrepresented' by Yousaf in DRS dispute

Yousaf is facing backlash from the firm after he “misrepresented” the company’s position on the DRS in order to criticise the UK Government’s decision to exclude glass from the recycling programme.

Last week Scottish businesses welcomed the government’s decision to exclude glass from the UK-wide DRS, despite an outcry from Holyrood accusing Westminster of “sabotage” and an attempt to “undermine devolution”.

A spokesperson from the Scotch Whisky Association spoke to db, describing the new policy as a “welcome compromise to enable a scheme which has been fraught with difficulties to operate in Scotland from March next year”.

However, Yousaf claimed on Twitter that the exclusion of glass would “put Scottish businesses like Tennent’s at a competitive disadvantage”, indicating that the letter addressed to the First Minister by C&C Group supported the Scottish scheme.

C&C Group has since said that passages from the letter it sent to the First Minister had been selectively leaked to the media, which “misrepresented” its position on the controversial plans.

C&C Group did say in its letter that the exclusion of glass would leave the company at a competitive disadvantage; the majority of its products are sold in cans, meaning that while drinkers would been to pay an extra 20p per can as part of the scheme, consumers buying bottled beer would sidestep the recycling levy.

However, in the letter the company in fact called for a UK-wide scheme to be introduced “across the UK four nations” at the same time, at odds with the position taken by the SNP/Green government, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The company told Scottish Secretary Alister Jack that its position had “regrettably” been falsified.

Jack shared a letter sent to him by C&C Group on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show.

The Tory minister then quoted the firm, which wrote: “Regrettably, specific passages of this letter were leaked to the media misrepresenting C&C’s position on DRS.

“C&C Group/Tennent’s is actively seeking and supports a UK-wide scheme introduced at the same time across the four UK nations.”

Scotland’s DRS was originally due to come into effect in August, but has since been pushed back to March 2024. The scheme has devolved into a battle between the UK and Scottish governments, with Yousaf threatening that the scheme could be scrapped this week if the UK government does not back down.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak written on Saturday, Yousaf said the decision to remove glass containers from the scheme put it in “grave danger”.

He gave the PM until Monday to walk back the previous decision, ahead of a Scottish cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The First Minister told the PA news agency in his Glasgow Pollok constituency that the UK Government must agree to the full exemption put forward by Scotland or risk “sinking this scheme in its entirety”.

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