Coca-Cola, Red Bull seek millions after Scotland’s deposit return scheme collapse

Coca-Cola and Red Bull are among the companies considering seeking millions of pounds in compensation following the postponement of Scotland’s deposit return scheme, according to sources. The Scottish Government’s plan, which would have added a 20p charge to single-use bottles and cans, has been delayed until at least October 2025. The beverage industry had invested millions in preparation for the scheme, originally set to launch in March 2024, despite concerns about its potential impact on their businesses and the creation of a trade barrier between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The collapse of Scotland’s system was attributed to the UK Government, as Downing Street ruled that it could only proceed if glass bottles were excluded. With similar schemes in the rest of the UK not expected until 2025, the Scottish government had requested an exemption from the Internal Market Act, which governs trade within the UK post-Brexit.

It is understood that the British Soft Drinks Association, representing companies like Coca-Cola, AG Barr, and Britvic, will meet next week to discuss potential compensation claims for the “millions wasted” on preparing for the now-delayed Scottish system. Innis and Gun, a major UK craft beer business, has also indicated that it is “carefully considering” legal action.

Founder Dougal Sharp expressed his frustration, saying, “I am hugely frustrated that we have spent a lot of time, money and effort in a scheme that we have been warning the government about for years was not right. It has cost us many, many hours of work. It has cost us a lot of money. We will consult with our colleagues and consider carefully our next steps. Every company will be looking to protect its financial position.”

Previously, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack had rejected First Minister Humza Yousaf’s suggestion that the UK government should cover the costs if the scheme did not proceed as planned. The Scottish Government has yet to comment on the matter.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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