ROSS Greer has written to the Speaker of the House of Commons to accuse Alister Jack of lying to MPs about the Deposit Return Scheme. 

The Scottish Green claims the minister made a “categorically untrue” statement when he said no request for an exemption from the UK Internal Market Act had been received before March. 

However, the UK Government has insisted the statement stands up to scrutiny and that while there were conversations around the opt-out, no “formal” request was made by the Scottish Government before March 6. 

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In his letter to Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Mr Greer said John Swinney had asked about an exemption in 2021. He wrote: “It is abundantly clear that Mr Jack’s attempt to convince the House of Commons that the Scottish Government had not sought an IMA exemption until March of this year is simply and categorically untrue.

“It is my firm belief that Mr Jack and his Government have used the Brexit process to give themselves a new power of veto over the decisions of Scotland’s elected Parliament via the Internal Market Act.

“This is a direct attack on Scotland’s democracy.”

He added: “Whilst the wider political points are, of course, not a matter for the Speaker, I would urge you to urgently investigate the situation I have described and outline and ask what action you will take in response to Mr Jack misleading the House of Commons.”

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Mr Greer also wrote to Simon Case, the head of the civil service, accusing Mr Jack of unilaterally changing the common frameworks for business between the two Governments by demanding a “formal” request for an exemption.

The Green said Mr had "abused his position in a partisan and opportunistic bid to block the progress Scotland is making."

"We cannot let these mistruths continue," Mr Greer added. "It's bad enough that the Tories have used Brexit to give themselves this new power of veto over the Scottish Parliament, but to mislead the public about it is simply outrageous."

A spokesman for the UK Government said this letter had been received and a response would come in due course.

He added: “UK Government ministers received a formal request for a UKIM Act exclusion for the Scottish Government’s Deposit Return Scheme on 6 March 2023. There had been no formal request prior to this.

“We will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to realise our shared ambition to improve the environment while meeting the needs of consumers and businesses across the UK.”

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The first discussion over a possible exemption, came in July 2021, when the Scottish Government proposed a broad exclusion from the Internal Market Act for both Scotland’s single-use plastics ban and the proposed Deposit Return Scheme. 

Official level discussions then took place in October 2021, and was discussed by ministers in the December of that year.

However, in March 2022, Defra confirmed a narrow exclusion had only been granted for the single-use plastic ban.

The Scottish Government then began to pursue a specific exclusion for the DRS with the UK Government in October 2022, with discussion ongoing for months. 

In January 2023, the then deputy first minister, John Swinney, wrote to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up about the VAT on the scheme. In his letter he said: “I am seeking your assurance now that UK Ministers will expedite a rapid solution, including an exclusion to the IMA”. 

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury replied: “Defra has assured me that its officials are working closely with counterparts in the Scottish Government and BEIS to scope and understand any implications associated with the UKIMA for the delivery of Scotland’s DRS and welcome the constructive working relationships between officials as they go through these details.” 

On February 13, the Scottish Government then presented their arguments in a paper for the UK and devolved governments. This was then discussed at the March 6 meeting.