The Government’s Spending Review was released on 25 November 2020, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing how much money will be spent on public services over the next financial year, starting in April 2021.
The priority of this year’s Government Spending Review was to outline the measures for the UK’s Covid-19 recovery, including new job creation and retention, and contained limited detail on issues affecting the waste and recycling sector.
The Environment Bill’s measures had previously been expected to take effect from 2023. However, the spending review noted that Defra had the resources to “progress with extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging waste, introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) and implement consistent collection of waste – including food waste – in every local authority in England by the end of this Parliament”, which would be 2024.
The National Infrastructure Strategy (NIR), unveiled alongside the Spending Review, repeated this timeline, saying EPR for packaging, a DRS and consistent collections would all help to “increase resource-use efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions from their implementation in 2024”.
This signal of a delay to the implementation of a Deposit Return System (DRS) comes after pressure from retailers over costs of preparing under pressures of the covid-19 pandemic. The English DRS system was due to follow a DRS in Scotland. The Scottish Government has already pushed back the rollout of the system there to July 2022.