The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed court action by convenience retailer Abdul Majid to challenge the legality of fees imposed on retailers by Circularity Scotland Limited (CSL).
CSL has been appointed by the Scottish government to administer the country’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), and Majid is challenging the legality of the retailer handling fees which CSL are seeking to impose on retailers.
He is concerned that that the retailer handling fee levels will not cover his costs following the introduction of the DRS and will be detrimental to his business both in the short and long term thereby threatening the viability of his store which provides key services and groceries to his local community in Bellshill.
SGF CEO Pete Cheema said: “For a long period of time the SGF has been trying, unsuccessfully to have Circularity Scotland Limited review the retailer handling fee to bring about a more balanced and fair position with this.
“An independent retailer, Abdul Majid, has now made the decision to take this issue forward for judicial review.
“SGF supports the aims of the judicial review proceedings which convenience retailer Abdul Majid MBE has brought, on his own behalf, against Circularity Scotland Limited. It is essential that DRS remains cost neutral to Return Point Operators and does not leave them with an additional cost burden or put them out of business.
“As a trade body, it is important that we once again highlight that thousands of local convenience stores are at risk due to insufficient funding through an inadequate and potentially illegal retailer handling fee structure. They are faced with the choice of taking on a significant financial burden to set up Reverse Vending Machines, with no means of properly recovering this cost through the scheme, or being forced out the scheme altogether and risk losing all their footfall to large businesses.
“SGF has been and remains fully committed to a fit for purpose scheme but for that to happen recognition must be given and action taken to address the concerns around retailer handling fee levels which has been raised in Mr Majid’s petition.
“We would encourage the Scottish Government to intervene and ensure that CSL are only adhering to what the regulations permit them to and not engage in trying to impose a handling fee that legally they are not allowed to do.”