ALISTER Jack is expected to deny the Scottish Government’s request for a trade exemption for their flagship recycling scheme, according to reports.

This could cause another dispute between the Scottish and UK governments just two months after Westminster’s unprecedented move to use a Section 35 order to block the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill from becoming law. 

However, criticism has been mounting over the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), even amongst SNP MSPs.

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SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes has said she would support a "pause" to the scheme, Ash Regan has said she would scrap it, and Humza Yousaf said he would exempt small businesses from the scheme for the first year. 

The DRS, set to launch on August 16, will require Scottish retailers to add 20p to the price of single-use bottles and cans, which consumers can recover by returning them for recycling. 

The cost of that deposit will initially be met by the producer. This requires an opt-out from the post-Brexit Internal Market Bill since it would mean different prices for the same products on either side of the border. 

The National: The DRS is a key strand of the SNP-Green co-operation agreementThe DRS is a key strand of the SNP-Green co-operation agreement

Scottish Secretary Jack has previously criticized the plan, telling the Commons that it is inadequately designed and will result in inflation, making it harmful for businesses and consumers alike. He added that granting an exemption will not be easy, claiming that the exemption criteria are very stringent.

Last month, Nicola Sturgeon said that rejecting the exemption plea would be an attack on Holyrood

She tweeted: “Many of us warned the UK Internal Market would be used to undermine devolved decision making - and I fear (hope I'm wrong) that this is coming to pass. Just as with use of S35, regardless of differing views on individual issues, it is now imperative to defend @ScotParl.”

Environmental campaigners believe that the scheme is necessary to reduce litter and CO2 emissions. But it has been opposed by many drinks producers and sellers, who say it will increase their costs amidst rising inflation and energy costs.

All SNP MSPs vying to replace Nicola Sturgeon have indicated a willingness to delay the DRS or adapt the scheme, with Forbes stating that the scheme needs to "work for all of Scotland," and Yousaf suggesting a one-year exclusion of small businesses.

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Regan said that “recycling is an imperative,” but warned that the scheme is not ready to go live in August. 

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens minister in charge of the scheme, previously told the BBC that she was "actively contemplating" implementing a grace period.

A UK Government spokesperson said that no decision has yet been taken. Regarding the exemption.

A spokesperson for the Scotland Office said: “It will now be carefully and fully considered by Ministers at the relevant Whitehall departments."