Week ahead at Holyrood: Deposit return scheme to be discussed

By Louise Wilson
BBC Holyrood Live

Image caption,
Bottles and cans, as well as plastic drinking bottles will be included in the scheme for Scotland

MSPs begin examining proposals for a deposit return scheme this week.

In May the Scottish government announced a deposit of 20p would be added to some plastic drinking containers, cans and glass.

The scheme is part of the government's climate action plan. But concerns have been raised about its complexity, timescales and governance.

Holyrood's environment committee will discuss the issue during a four-hour session on Tuesday.

One of the stakeholders giving evidence has warned the scheme could inadvertently lead to 823 million extra plastic bottles being produced.

Alupro, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation, said a flat deposit of 20p could result in consumers purchasing plastic bottles instead of aluminium cans.

This is because a multipack of cans would have a higher deposit than larger plastic bottles containing the same amount of liquid in total.

What else is happening at the Scottish Parliament this week?

Tuesday - EU citizens

Image source, Getty Images

The bulk of Tuesday afternoon will be spent on a debate titled "protecting the rights of EU citizens in Scotland".

Figures released by the Home Office found just a quarter of EU citizens living in Scotland had applied to remain in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme by the end of July.

And in October Brandon Lewis, a minister within the Home Office, warned the UK would deport EU citizens after Brexit if they do not apply for the right to remain in time.

The Scottish government has repeatedly urged EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit and called for rights to be guaranteed, regardless of any other outcomes from negotiations with the EU.

A statement on the next steps regarding the death of Sheku Bayoh will be made at 14:20 by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, immediately after topical questions on the deposit return scheme and two cases of diphtheria being discovered in the Lothians region.

The statement follows a Crown Office decision not to prosecute anyone after a "thorough review" of all the available evidence.

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton will lead a member's debate on tackling intimidation and abuse faced by politicians and parliamentary candidates.

It comes after a number of women have opted not to stand again in the general election due to the abuse they have received.

Wednesday - artificial intelligence

Image source, Thinkstock

The Scottish government will lead a debate on artificial intelligence (AI) and data driven tech.

AI is technology that enables a computer to think or act in a more "human" way. It does this by taking in information from its surroundings, and deciding its response based on what it learns or senses.

While MSPs will discuss the economic and societal benefits such technology can bring, concerns about data security job losses due to automation will likely come up.

Transport and justice ministers will face portfolio questions before this, then a debate on pancreatic cancer awareness will follow, led by SNP MSP Clare Adamson.

Over lunch time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be answering questions from Holyrood's committee conveners.

In the morning, Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse will be discussing the proposed national islands plan with the rural economy committee.

The plan, promising a "framework for action" has been drawn up following consultation with island communities.

Tackling depopulation, a lack of housing and the need for improvements to transport and health services are among the objectives.

Thursday - US tariffs

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Scotch whisky will be subject to a 25% tariff

The imposition of trade tariffs from the US and the impact this will have on Scottish produce will be debated on Thursday afternoon.

From 18 October, the US is applying tariffs on $7.5bn (£6.1bn) of goods it imports from the EU.

Wool, cheese and biscuits are also among the products subject to the new tariffs.

First minister's questions will take place as usual at noon, followed by SNP MSP Ruth Maguire highlighting the Day of the Imprisoned Writer in a member's debate.