Supreme Court backs Scottish minimum alcohol pricing plans

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Sturgeon tweeted that she was "delighted" that the supreme court upheld the introduction of the price cap.

Karen Betts, SWA chief executive, said they "accept" the court decision in a statement, but also took time to highlight how it could damage their industry and exports.

"Where we will see some difference however, is the move away from trying to tackle our alcohol problems simply through higher taxation and regulatory obligations as these measures have never proven to be effective".

The Scottish Ministers have prepared a draft order specifying a minimum price per unit of 50 pence but neither the 2012 Act nor the order have been brought into force pending the outcome of this legal challenge.

Legislation was approved by the Scottish Parliament five years ago for the cap, but the court challenges have held up its implementation.

Health experts south of the border are hoping today's decision could have knock-on consequences.

'This has been a long road - and no doubt the policy will continue to have its critics - but it is a bold and necessary move to improve public health'.

It would not directly impact on Scotland's premium whisky, which is already sold at well above the minimum price, but the SWA fear it could lead to worldwide trade barriers.




SpiritsEUROPE regrets the UK Supreme Court ruling on MUP, which will distort competition by preventing efficient low-priced producers of alcoholic drinks in other Member States from using that competitive advantage against higher cost producers, without targeting those who drink at harmful levels.

The landmark ruling, made this morning, has given the green light for the Scottish Government to implement its plans for a 50p per unit MUP.

During a hearing in July, the judges heard argument from the organisation that minimum unit pricing (MUP) is "disproportionate" and illegal under European law.

A small number of countries, including Canada and Russian Federation, and some states in the U.S., have a form of minimum pricing, according to the Institute for Alcohol Studies.

It comes after figures showed there were 1,265 alcohol related deaths in Scotland in 2016 - a rise of 10 per cent on the previous year.

On average, alcohol misuse causes about 670 Scottish hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week, nearly 1.5 times higher than in the early 1980s.

Tom McCusker, Managing Director C&C Group Ireland, commented, "C&C Group plc has been a strong and vocal supporter of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP), as progressive legislation that will promote and encourage a responsible relationship with alcohol in society".

And it estimated that alcohol misuse costs Scotland some £3.6 billion a year - the equivalent of £900 for every adult.

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