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Council drops plans to award Amazon vouchers as recycling prize

A Scottish council has dropped plans to offer Amazon vouchers as an incentive to cut litter, after criticism from a local MSP.

Highland Council is planning to introduce a scheme at ten secondary schools in the region after winning £24,000 from Zero Waste Scotland’s Litter Prevention Innovation Fund.

The council originally planned to offer the £10 vouchers for the online retailer as a prize to pupils of the Highland schools as a reward for using recycling and litter bins in a project to start in the New Year.

MRW previously reported that MSP John Finnie wrote to the council criticising its decision to use vouchers from the business which has recently been lambasted for how little corporation tax it pays in the UK.

Under the scheme each school would be given a target for litter and recycling during the week long project, with up to £750 awarded to the school to spend on green initiatives and equipment.

Finnie said: “Not only does Amazon have a shocking track record in avoiding paying millions of pounds of UK taxes but their operation also squeezes local businesses to the point of closure.”

He also said Amazon’s business model went against the long term economic growth supported by the Highland Council.

“If the scheme was changed to give out vouchers for local shops it would not only put some much needed business in the post-Christmas quiet period their way but also encourage young people to have a relationship with their local retailer instead of an anonymous online retailer which puts little or nothing back into local communities,” he added.

Finnie had previously said the council had responded saying that it would look at how it uses incentives and how it can support local businesses.

But the council has since confirmed to MRW that it will now not be using Amazon vouchers.

A statement said: “Councillor Drew Hendry, Convener of The Highland Council, confirms the Council is not giving vouchers from Amazon and is consulting with Highland Youth Voice over what should be given to the winners.”

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