HUMZA Yousaf has repeated his warning that Scotland's deposit return scheme could be scrapped if the UK Government does not ditch its opposition to including glass.

The First Minister described it as an "unreasonable demand" and accused ministers in Whitehall of trying to "torpedo the DRS" and "undermine devolution."

The SNP leader was speaking to journalists during a visit to Falkirk to launch a new "fan bank" to give football supporters the opportunity to buy shares in their local clubs.

READ MORE: UK Government unveil conditions for 'consistent' DRS exemption

Over the weekend, the UK Government effectively killed off the Scottish Government’s design for the DRS, telling ministers that it could only go ahead with a number of substantial changes.

Those include removing glass from the list of recyclable containers and agreeing to standardise both the deposit charge and labelling with their own scheme, due to launch in the rest of the UK in 2025.

The UK Government said the adaptations were the only way they would agree to an exemption under the UK Internal Market Act, the legislation brought in after Brexit to try and ensure frictionless trade across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Without it, the Scottish scheme would be confined to drinks containers produced north of the border.

Mr Yousaf said: “The choice that we are faced with is either to concede to the UK Government’s unreasonable demands as part of their attempt not just to torpedo the DRS, but frankly to undermine devolution.

“That would be to exclude glass, but to do so may well be at the severe detriment of businesses in Scotland.”

He claimed it was an attempt by the Tories in London to “destroy” devolution in their final 12 to 18 months in government, ahead of a general election expected next year.

The Herald:

Asked how the scheme could move forward without the exemption, he said: “We’ve got to give that consideration if we progress without glass and if it’s going to harm Scottish business in that way, then yes another choice is not to proceed with the scheme, which would be hugely disappointing given that the Parliament voted for the scheme and voted for these regulations.”

Earlier on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Lorna Slater, the minister responsible for the scheme, said the Scottish Government needs to “quickly re-evaluate” whether the plans can go ahead.

She said: “We’ve hit a real roadblock with the UK Government, at this very late hour, changing their minds and saying we can’t have glass in the system when businesses all over Scotland have put in already the investment to having glass in the system.

“We now need to re-evaluate, talk to all the businesses in Scotland who have made this investment and figure out how we go forward from here.”

READ MORE: Lorna Slater hints DRS could be axed due to UK Government 'sabotage'

Asked if the UK Government’s decision presents “insurmountable” problems for the scheme in Scotland, she conceded: “This is the question we need to work with Scottish businesses to find out, is it insurmountable?

“We have to rerun all the numbers very quickly, look at what investment has been made and see if we can move forward.

“A deposit return scheme is the right thing to do but Westminster really has thrown a spanner in the works and tried to sabotage the system, and we are going to have to see if what they have left us is viable.”

She added that the “UK Government forcing us to take glass out of the scheme this late in the day is a challenge”, as she accused the Tories at Westminster of U-turning on their plans for DRS.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Government remains unwavering in its commitment to improving the environment, while also upholding the UK’s internal market.

“The drinks industry has raised concerns about the Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme differing from plans in the rest of the UK, resulting in the Scottish Government reviewing and pausing their scheme earlier this year.

“We have listened to these concerns and that is why we have accepted the Scottish Government’s request for a UK Internal Market (UKIM) exclusion on a temporary and limited basis to ensure the Scottish Government’s scheme aligns with planned schemes for the rest of the UK.

“Deposit return schemes need to be consistent across the UK and this is the best way to provide a simple and effective system. A system with the same rules for the whole UK will increase recycling collection rates and reduce litter – as well as minimise disruption to the drinks industry and ensure simplicity for consumers.”

READ MORE: DRS: Firms spend £300m to handle glass in scheme which may be axed

Meanwhile, the Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) urged the government to delay the start of Scotland's DRS until the launch of the other UK schemes in 2025.

They said the design of the Scottish scheme was "fatally flawed" and "would inevitably result in cross border trade friction, a reduction in consumer choice, and significant financial penalty to Scottish businesses and consumers."

A spokesperson said: "We will continue to engage with Scottish Government, however, to now proceed with a Scotland-only scheme in the absence of knowing the deposit levels, producer costs, and return handling fees that will apply across the rest of the UK would seem little short of reckless.

"We therefore urge the Scottish Government to delay the launch of Scotland's DRS until a UK wide set of scheme standards can be agreed."