WHEN Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that she was stepping down as First Minister of Scotland, having spent eight years in the top job, this sent shockwaves through the Scottish political landscape.

And regardless of the political differences I have always had with the first minister, it cannot be denied that such a long stint in public office can take a huge toll on any politicians' personal and family life.

But it is also clear that the first minister has left the country a more divided place than when she took office – with Sturgeon's determination to prioritise a second independence referendum over every other policy area having prevented the country moving on from the 2014 vote.

Time and time again, Sturgeon showed an approach to government that divided the Scottish public straight down the middle, while ignoring the concerns of people and businesses across the country who were crying out for a constructive government that works in Scotland's interests.

Nowhere is this approach clearer than when we look at the SNP Government's Deposit Return Scheme that is to be introduced this August.

This scheme could have been a worthwhile way of improving recycle rates, decreasing littering, and protecting the environment. But this kind of scheme can only work when it is designed in collaboration with businesses up and down the country.

Instead, this SNP-Green Government have designed a scheme which risks burdening small businesses with extra costs and red-tape at a time when many of them are still struggling to get back on their feet.

Businesses have raised numerous concerns about the Deposit Return Scheme, but so far these have fallen on deaf ears. So much so, the Federation of Small Businesses have now demanded that the Scottish Government 'stop and think' about the damage this scheme could cause to small businesses. They have also claimed – along with other commentators – that the scheme in its current form is 'destined to fail'.

Regardless of the good intentions behind the Deposit Return Scheme, the message from small businesses is clear: pause this scheme, listen to retailers' concerns, and come up with a scheme that the entire business community can buy into.

But while the events of last week may have sent shockwaves through Scottish politics, they have yet to provide any hope for businesses concerned about this scheme.

The leader may be changing, but so far as Scotland is concerned, the same old SNP problems still remain. More than just a new leader, this SNP-Green administration needs a whole new approach to government.

I can only hope that last week's news marks a turning point in Scottish politics. A turning point away from the same divisive, grievance driven, anti-business policies we have become all too familiar with.

Along with small businesses up and down the country, I am hoping that the first sign of this turning point will be this government listening to the concerns about their Deposit Return Scheme, and stepping-in before it becomes the disaster it is currently shaping up to be.