Tesco boss hits out at SNP's ‘confusing’ bottle recycling scheme

·2 min read
Tesco CEO Ken Murphy - TESCO-RESULTS/
Tesco CEO Ken Murphy - TESCO-RESULTS/

The chief executive of Britain's biggest supermarket has criticised the SNP's confusing bottle recycling scheme, warning it risks setting back broader UK efforts to go green.

Ken Murphy, chief executive of Tesco, said the scheme championed by Nicola Sturgeon was "not fit for purpose, and worse, it risks driving up prices and undermining consumer confidence".

The Scottish scheme, scheduled to launch in August, is meant to encourage recycling by forcing buyers to pay an extra 20p deposit on single-use drinks containers, which would then be refunded when returned.

Wales, England and Northern Ireland are working on a separate joint scheme to encourage people to recycle more.

Mr Murphy said Scotland's race to be first meant that "the blueprint is incomplete", with confusion over how containers will be collected and what price retailers should be displaying.

Drinks manufacturers themselves would have to add that initial 20p onto every product before they are sold.

The Tesco chief said: "It's a scheme that needs more time to get it right and when it is launched, it should be a UK wide scheme, rather than one for each of the devolved nations to implement separately.

"The UK is a single market for soft drinks. And so the scale of a UK wide scheme seems the more logical approach."

Scottish hospitality chiefs have called for the scheme to be scrapped as "the complexity and devastating impact of it becomes glaringly evident".

The Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack has said the plan will be inflationary as it will force up the price of drinks at the till.

Mr Murphy’s comments, which were made at Retail Week Live, come amid signs the plans could be watered down by new SNP leader Humza Yousaf, who has promised to exempt small businesses from the scheme for the first year.

The Scottish Greens have pushed back against these proposals, saying hundreds of small businesses had already signed up and medium-sized businesses may also want exemptions.

The scheme was a key point of debate during the SNP leadership race.

Kate Forbes, who was narrowly beaten by Mr Yousaf in the contest, had called the plastic plan "an example of a good idea badly executed" and pledged to pause it if she were chosen as the new SNP leader.