CIRCULARITY Scotland has appointed administrators as an “unforgivable consequence” of the UK Government’s intervention over the deposit return scheme (DRS), Circularity Minister Lorna Slater has said.

Responding to an urgent question in Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon, the Scottish Greens co-leader said ministers had been told that day that around 60 jobs would be lost from the industry-backed firm.

The company was set up to roll-out and operate the DRS in Scotland when it came into force later this year.

However, after a last-minute intervention from UK ministers, Westminster refused to give an exemption to the Internal Market Act to allow the scheme to include glass, and set a number of other conditions.

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As the UK-wide scheme is in the early stages, the Scottish DRS was delayed until at least October 2025.

It comes as the Scottish Tories were successful in lodging a vote of no confidence against Slater, which is set to be held later on Tuesday evening.

It is unlikely to be successful due to the pro-independence majority of SNP and Scottish Green MSPs.

Responding to an urgent question from Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack, Slater said: “We have learned today that a process is under way to appoint administrators to Circularity Scotland (CSL), leaving their staff in an extremely difficult position.

“This is an unforgivable consequence of the UK Government's 11th-hour intervention, which undermined our deposit return scheme, made progress impossible and is now resulting in these jobs being lost.

“This is clearly a concerning time for staff at Circularity Scotland, and we have been in regular contact with Circularity Scotland since the UK Government's decision.”

Slater added that she had written to CSL staff thanking them for their hard work and expressing the Scottish Government’s “deep regret” that they are now in this position.

“We continue to liaise with Circularity Scotland to consider how we may be able to support its staff, including providing PACE support, which is the Scottish Government's initiative for providing advice and guidance to people at risk of redundancy.

“In terms of when the Scottish Government knew that Circularity Scotland faced financial challenges – we warned the UK Government repeatedly that a failure to agree an exclusion to the UK Internal Market Act would jeopardise the scheme.

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“At 9:45pm on Friday, May 26, having first spent the day briefing the media, the UK Government informed us that they would only grant a partial, temporary and highly conditional exclusion.

“It was clear then that the UK Government had torpedoed Scotland's deposit return scheme.”

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said that CSL staff were not the only victims of the UK Government “destroying Scotland’s scheme”.

He told MSPs that Circularity Scotland and Biffa were setting up a £7.7 million counting centre in Aberdeen, and another in Motherwell, and asked Slater how many jobs had been put at risk by this decision.

She replied: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme would have created up to 500 new green jobs, including as the member highlights in Aberdeen and Motherwell. We are in the very regrettable position that these new jobs are now at risk with our DRS being unable to launch.

“The UK Government clearly is not interested in investment in Scotland, in jobs in Scotland, nor respecting businesses in Scotland.”

Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden said that £9m of public money was invested into CSL by the National Investment Bank (NIB), and asked if the money was now gone.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison could be heard saying: “You should have asked Alister Jack about that…”

Slater said that the NIB is independent of the Scottish Government and ministers are not involved in the decision-making of the bank.

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Speaking after the announcement, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “This is a significant and deeply frustrating development that will leave dozens of people looking for new jobs, undermine future investment and erode trust in what any UK scheme might be able to achieve given it is the Tories that caused it to collapse.

“People will rightly question the role played by the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in all of this, as well as the lack of climate leadership from his Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“Most significant, though, is the sharp focus it has brought on the Tories’ commitment to using Westminster’s powers to undermine the Scottish Parliament and the devolution settlement.

“The Scottish Greens will continue to push for real action over our environment and take on the Tories at every turn to do what is best for the people of Scotland, no matter how they try to frustrate progress on tackling the climate emergency.”