I NOTE that Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has welcomed the fact that the delay to the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland will mean a recycling scheme is implemented throughout the UK at the same time. Such a scheme, he argues, needs to be “consistent across the whole of the UK, to provide a simple and effective system for businesses and consumers”.

However, no matter how true this might be, or indeed what you might think of the Scottish Government’s scheme, the UK Government’s use of Section 35 of the Scotland Act is utterly at odds with the very axioms of devolution, that within the limits of their legal powers, devolved matters were for the devolved administrations to determine by themselves.

Even if you agree with Conservative MSP Maurice Golden that the DRS has “already failed”, surely our recourse is to vote against the SNP at the next election rather than looking to the Westminster Government, a place dominated by a different party and political outlook, to bring to heel a devolved government exercising its devolved powers?

The powers exercised by Westminster are contained within the UK Internal Market Act 2020, which established "market access principles" designed to prevent new trade barriers emerging across the different parts of the UK post-Brexit. Rules in this Act prevent regulations held to discriminate between goods from different parts of the UK, meaning any Scottish legislation deemed to have this effect can be struck down, as the final decision whether divergence can go ahead and on what terms rests with the UK government.

Compare this to the situation within the EU: while the Commission issued regulations, these were sufficiently wide to allow member states to pursue their own approach. In the UK discretion doesn’t even extend to bottles or no bottles.

Nor is there recourse to another authority like the European Court of Justice. The sole arbiter is the Westminster Government. In turn this reinforces the asymmetry of the relationship, with the UK Government setting policy even on devolved matters.

Put short, is the future of Holyrood to wait for Westminster to act and then follow? Do we really need to be protected by a London politician whose party holds only six of 59 Westminster seats in Scotland? What future is there for meaningful devolution that means more than "do as you're told"?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

A new depth of incompetence

IT baffles me how the Deposit Return Scheme could be failing so catastrophically.

This recycling policy is not some new-fangled radical innovation: bottle deposits are well established and widely used in multiple European countries. We could have just copied what they do.

How could this have become so needlessly complicated? To have fouled up such a tried and tested practice means that the Scottish Government has descended to a hitherto-unplumbed depth of incompetence.

Robert Frazer, Dundee.

Read more: The problem isn't muscular unionism, it's a feeble SNP

What now for DRS body?

THE postponement of the DRS ("Lobbyists fear DRS could be put on hold for ‘an indefinite time’", The Herald, June 8) raises the question of how the director of Circularity Scotland and his 45 staff will fill their time for the next 27 months.

The time would be well spent by tasking the original architect of the DRS (now one of his staff) to liaise with those countries with DRS that are claimed to work well and find out if theirs would fit in with the long-established existing recycling systems we've had in Scotland over the last two decades.

And why not loan out some of his staff to a selection of Scottish councils' cleansing departments for six months, where they could gain some valuable experience from the people who actually know about successful waste recycling?

At least it would lay to rest some of the daft claims made for our current DRS and possibly let them come up with one that would actually work.

It's not as if there aren't funds available: there must be quite a lot of the £29m still in Circularity Scotland's coffers.

John F Crawford, Lytham.

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Easy to receive, hard to return

PATRICIA Fort (Letters, June 8) is astonished at the number of correspondents who “apparently” can collect full bottles and cans from a shop but are unable to return them.

It is a fact that many people, for whatever reason, now depend on supermarket deliveries for their weekly shopping. They may be elderly, infirm, have no personal transport and poor access to public transport or are simply just too busy. All major UK supermarkets now provide a delivery service, with one of the largest providing delivery slots from 8am through till 11pm five days a week and 8am-10pm at weekends.

As yet I have heard of no supermarket considering the introduction of a bottle or can collection scheme.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

SNP wrong to fight Ferrier

THE unrelenting attacks on Margaret Ferrier, Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, because she took a train from London to Scotland while infected with Covid are the height of hypocrisy.

Charles Windsor travelled to Scotland with an entourage of flunkies while shedding the virus en route but, like escaping inheritance tax, he avoided any sanctions. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak broke their own Covid rules but were fined just £50.

An interesting question is why the SNP has turned so viciously against Ms Ferrier? Fourteen SNP MPs voted for her suspension and the party will spend scarce money to join with unionists to promote a recall petition that will virtually guarantee it loses the seat to English Labour. What a cunning plan.

The SNP has abandoned Scotland in favour of collaboration with the colonial power. It has used its position to feather its nest and pad its pensions while taking the people down a blind alley. It has held the Scottish people back and attacked those deemed "too radical".

Political parties have failed to liberate us from Westminster’s tyranny. It’s time to invert the power pyramid and put the people back in control.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Read more:We must loosen Holyrood's grip on rural Scotland before it's too late

Locals must get a say on ferries

I AM in total agreement with Alexander McKay (Letters, June 8) concerning the woeful attitude of the SNP/Greens administration in Holyrood. Allied to this is the news today that a rethink has been ordered into how CalMac manages Scotland's ferries (“Minister orders CalMac rethink after major ferry service protest”, The Herald, June 8). That will only be effective if those charged with dealing with and bringing about a betterment for all concerned have expertise in such matters and, of necessity and sheer courtesy, take on representatives from the communities involved. Their exclusion to the present time is unforgivable.

Among the many faults of the present ruling party in Holyrood is a thinly-veiled disinterest in all aspects of public transport within Scotland be it road, rail or ferries.

As an example I did not note any of the political hierarchy welcoming the tram extension in Edinburgh this week. I wonder why?

John Macnab, Falkirk.

• I SEE that Calmac boss Robbie Drummond is to meet South Uist folk to discuss their transport problems. May I ask how he's going to get there? If he needs to charter, the Circular Economy Minister can maybe give him a steer on costs.

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.

What was Thatcher's council house motive?

TERESA McNally (Letters, June 7) clarifies the problem with Margaret Thatcher's right to buy policy with its high discount rate which made replacement house building not viable. However, it is both private and council house building which must produce more affordable housing for couples and single persons of all ages. National and local government must address this necessity in planning processes.

One question remains about Mrs Thatcher. Did she try to reduce the supposed burden of council housing stock, or did she hope that more private house owners would support her? I had a neighbour who moved from a council prefab to her first owned house and claimed that her new status probably meant that she should now vote Tory.

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.

Well, that's rich

I NOTE that a review by a team of researchers at the Education Endowment Foundation has found that offering financial incentives – such as higher salaries and bonuses – could help in attracting high-quality staff to challenging schools ("Financial incentives could help attract teachers to schools", The Herald, June 8), and that strategies to reduce workload and improving working conditions were associated with improved teacher retention.

Similar incentives might also attract researchers who could come up with something other than the blindingly obvious.

R Russell Smith, Largs.