TENNENT’S owner C&C Group says the Scottish Government “regrettably” misrepresented their position on the Deposit Return Scheme. 

The firm sent a letter to the First Minister and a Holyrood committee on Friday raising some of their concerns over the UK Government’s demands to exclude glass. 

It was then shared with the Daily Record and the BBC and widely followed up by other outlets. 

However, the company then wrote to Alister Jack, the Secretary of State of Scotland, and claimed that what had been leaked did not accurately portray their views on the scheme. 

READ MORE: Tennent's anger over UK Government's DRS glass exclusion demand

Scotland's troubled DRS was supposed to launch in August but has already been put back until next year.

It would see each single-use item carry a levy of 20p, which is then refunded when the empty container was returned to retailers.

Last weekend, the UK Government made clear the Scottish Government’s DRS would only be given the necessary exemption to the UK Internal Market Act if they made a number of substantial changes.

They included agreeing to standardise the deposit charge and labelling across the UK to match the scheme in the rest of the UK, due to launch in 2025.

Crucially, they also said glass should not be part of the DRS.

In their letter, the C&C Group said the exclusion of glass would leave them at a competitive disadvantage because the majority of their produce was sold in cans.

While their drinkers would need to pay an extra 20p per can, someone drinking bottled beer would escape the recycling levy.

Humza Yousaf took to Twitter to share reports of the letter. “Tory demands for glass to be removed from Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme not only undermine devolution, but will put Scottish businesses like Tennent's at a competitive disadvantage,” he said. 

“Removing glass from DRS is bad for the environment and bad for Scottish businesses,” he added.

Appearing on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Mr Jack then shared a letter to C&C group had sent to him, copying in their missive to the First Minister. 

The Tory minister then quoted the firm: “Please find enclosed the letter we sent to Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s First Minister, setting out our position following last weekend’s UK Internal Market announcement.

“Regrettably, specific passages of this letter were leaked to the media misrepresenting C&C’s position on DRS.

“C&C Group/Tennent’s is actively seeking and supports a UK-wide scheme introduced at the same time across the four UK nations.”

The letter went on to say that the removal of glass would leave the company at a “competitive disadvantage with the rest of the UK” and the firm “cannot therefore support a stand-alone Scottish DRS that excludes glass”.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf urges Rishi Sunak to rethink DRS intervention

On Saturday, Mr Yousaf wrote to Rishi Sunak warning that the glass exclusion would "detrimentally" impact businesses and "fundamentally" threatens the viability of the scheme. 

As well as putting the future of the scheme itself in "grave danger", Mr Yousaf warned that the intervention "demonstrates a major erosion of the devolution settlement". 

The Herald:

Asked if the Prime Minister should overturn the block, Mr Jack said:  "No, we've given an exclusion. There are four conditions in that exclusion, which allow the schemes to work across the United Kingdom." 

“And we believe that that makes sense because that's what industry have written to us and industry have asked us to do," he added. "I haven't had a single letter from a business supporting the proposed scheme that Lorna Slater brought forward. Whereas I have had over 1,000 letters of concern.

"And it's those concerns that we've taken into account when we've come to our conclusion.”

The UK Internal Market Act was brought in after Brexit to try and ensure frictionless trade across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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

Mr Jack said the legislation was a “protector of devolution.”

“You have to protect internal markets and not have disruption to the drinks industry. And we know that because French wine producers told us that they wouldn't be relabeling just for Scotland for glass, it was too small to market. So they would sell their wine elsewhere.”

READ MORE: Yousaf accuses Labour of 'sitting on their hands' over devolution

Meanwhile, on the issue of including glass, the Scottish Secretary said he had spoken to British Glass, which claimed the Scottish scheme will largely be crushing glass to be used as aggregate for roads.

However, Circularity Scotland – the administrator of Scotland's DRS – disputed that.

The Tory minister told the programme: "The British Glass industry have written to us and said look this is not recycling glass this sort of scheme.

“Circularity Scotland are going to crush it and put it into aggregate for roads.

“We believe the scheme should be melting it, as happens with the current local authority schemes, it should be melted, and then recycled for bottles, and we agreed with that.”

A spokesman for Circularity Scotland said Mr Jack's comments could risk substantial investment.

“Circularity Scotland has consistently stated that the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme has set a target of 90% for the remelting and reuse of glass from the scheme’s launch, rising to 95% post-launch,” he said.

“Any claims to the contrary are totally inaccurate.

“These claims have seriously jeopardised a £10 million investment in glass recycling planned for Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme.”

Mr Yousaf took to Twitter to say this was "proof" Mr Jack "simply wants to sink Scotland’s DRS scheme."

"The PM should ignore the calamitous Scotland Office and do the right thing by the environment, business and devolution and grant the full DRS exemption, including glass," he added.

In his letter, to the Prime Minister, Mr Yousaf aksed for a response by Monday to allow his Cabinet to consider the developments. 

He wrote: "We cannot – and will not – put Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage by the UK Government’s eleventh-hour changes to the range of materials included, impacting Scottish jobs, inward investment and potentially reducing choice for consumers in Scotland."

The First Minister also pointed to the Welsh deposit scheme where ministers are still pushing ahead with a scheme that would include glass. 

His Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford criticised the UK Government for forcing the exclusion of glass in Scotland earlier this week. 

Mr Drakeford said he was “considering the implications” of the decision for the Welsh Government.

“The English Government is the outlier here," he added. 

The Scottish Government and the C&C Group have been approached for comment.