Recycling Scotland: Lorna Slater told to 'go back to the drawing board' on Scottish Government's recycling bill's costings

Last week a Holyrood committee criticised the government for a lack of financial planning on its Circular Economy Bill

Lorna Slater has been told to “go back to the drawing board” in trying to finance a key government recycling Bill.

Last week Holyrood’s finance and public administration committee criticised the Scottish Government for a lack of financial planning on its Circular Economy Bill, casting doubt on whether the financial estimates were based on accurate costings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Bill, if introduced, would give councils additional powers to tackle waste crime such as fly-tipping and provide more enforcement for household recycling.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater. Image: Jane Barlow/Press Association.Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater. Image: Jane Barlow/Press Association.
Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater. Image: Jane Barlow/Press Association.

The committee published a report saying certain numbers in the Bill were “entirely unrealistic”, and accused ministers of not making affordability a “key factor” in its decision making.

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater, the Green minister in charge of this Bill, has now said she will reflect on the numbers provided by the finance committee. But she said the Bill’s financial memorandum was based on what information was available at the time.

Ms Slater was appearing in front of Holyrood’s net zero, energy and transport committee when she was questioned on the report’s criticisms.

Committee convener Edward Mountain said: “They said you had pretty much under-estimated the savings and the costs for doing this. The broad figures varied considerably and there is insufficient money put aside for education.

“I could go on and on, but I guess the most difficult thing for me is affordability.

“It does not appear to have been a key factor for the Scottish Government’s decision making – are they wrong?”

Ms Slater conceded there had been some “dissatisfaction” on specific numbers, but stressed she would go and review the numbers and publish any further updates as necessary.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “I welcome the report and it has useful information in it. The financial memorandum was done with the best information we had.

“Robust data is not held centrally and I recognise we could benefit from comparative figures, but this is fairly marginal when anticipating the costs.”

Mr Mountain added: “It is an excellent report, but it indicates you need to go back to the drawing board.”

During her appearance at the committee, Ms Slater was also directly asked if she had ever had a meeting with online retail giant Amazon in preparing the Bill. She replied: “No.”

However, Mr Mountain then pointed out that in the Parliament's declaration of interests of lobbying register, it states she did in fact meet with Amazon on October 12 last year.

He said he was “surprised” to hear her say she hadn’t met with the company, which has a large base near Dunfermline.

Ms Slater replied: “If the record says I did, then I did. I take many, many meetings.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.