ARRAN Brewery’s boss has labelled the Scottish Government’s plan to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers as “deeply flawed” and “ill-conceived”.

Earlier this month the government revealed that a 20p deposit will be charged on the sale of cans, plastic bottles and glass with consumers able to get the deposit back by returning the containers in a bid to increase recycling and tackle climate change.

Gerald Michaluk who owns Arran Brewery has praised the overall objectives of the scheme but believes it will impact on small businesses the most.

He said: “Small businesses as well as large supermarkets will be required to set up the infrastructure to handle the returns and fund the deposit repayments.

“This will not be easy physically and financially for a small business.

“If the supermarkets do it better, as they will, why will consumers not just shop there too?

“Yet another nail in the high street coffin. You can see why the supermarkets like the idea.”

He added: “The scheme completely ignores rural Scotland.

“If the public buys their monthly shop at a supermarket but return the bottles as they use them to their local rural shop it will be the final death blow to the last remaining village shops.”

Michaluk also raised concerns over the scheme only applying in Scotland and believes it could potentially lead to fraud.

He said: “If you are in the borders you can buy a drink in England for 20p less and then simply return your empty bottle in Scotland for 20p- a great discount and incentive to buy in England.

“To prevent this there will presumably need to be a label on the bottles sold in Scotland which will be a huge expense for small businesses and a logistical nightmare.”

The Arran brewery boss believes that any deposit return scheme should be co-ordinated within the UK as a whole.

Michaluk continued: “Having Scotland going alone is stupid.

“It needs to be thought through a lot more and in conjunction with the rest of the UK.

“We don’t need four different schemes, labels, and rules.

“It should be piloted on a small scale first to make sure it works before rolling out from the big producers downwards.

“Let’s not see Scotland once more the testing ground for flawed politically motivated, ill conceived, projects that are doomed to failure.”