The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has criticised the Scottish Government for burdening hospitality and drinks businesses with costly new legislation.

Earlier this month, the government announced that it will introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), which includes glass, for mid-2022.

WSTA said that the move was inappropriate at time UK pubs, bars, restaurants are struggling to cope with the situation due to the outbreak of the coronavirus Covid-19.

WSTA said in a statement: “Sadly, for many, there is a very real prospect that their businesses will fold, and the hospitality sector will take years to recover from the losses.”

WSTA has urged the UK Government’s not to introduce any new legislation that adds to their cost or put unnecessary pressure.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “It is completely insensitive to so many businesses at this most difficult time, that the Scottish Government has tabled this legislation.

“The majority of companies that will be affected by the introduction of DRS are currently under serious threat as a result of Covid-19, and adding extra financial burdens to their business shows a level of indifference by Scottish officials.

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“We have long argued that glass bottles should be excluded from the scheme and that a higher rate of glass recycling could be best achieved by improved kerbside collection, but have been fearful that the Scottish Government is simply not listening.”

In another development, WSTA has asked the UK Government to suspend all alcohol duty for a period of at least six months due to coronavirus crisis.

Beale further added: “We welcome the government’s commitment to do whatever it takes to help businesses in these are extraordinary times.

“The WSTA wants to work closely with the government to ensure our industry is heard and the lifelines the government are promising are swiftly delivered. We are calling on the government to go further, and faster.”