Scottish minimum alcohol pricing ruled legal by UK Supreme Court

The Scottish Government plan aims to tackle problem drinking
Credit
PA

Ministers will now conduct a consultation on the proposed 50 pence per unit price and refresh the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) that is required by Parliament.

"We regret the Supreme Court's ruling on minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol in Scotland, which we believe is inconsistent with the Court of Justice's ruling in this case and its wider jurisprudence".

Ms Sturgeon said: 'Absolutely delighted that minimum pricing has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Robison said: "This is a historic and far-reaching judgment and a landmark moment in our ambition to turn around Scotland's troubled relationship with alcohol".

The policy has been championed by Sturgeon since she was Scotland's health secretary, in an effort to combat the increasing number of deaths from alcohol-related diseases, and had been backed by Scottish judges in several hearings.

The judgement, handed down by justice Lord Mance, said that increasing alcohol price by an excise duty or Value-Added Tax increase "would not be equally effective" at targeting cheap alcohol.

The Scottish Government argues the policy is needed as nearly a fifth more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales, while alcohol-related deaths have increased by 10 per cent over the previous year.

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

And brewers C&C - who produce Tennent's Lager and Magners Cider - also welcomed the decision, saying: "It is the right move to make; a progressive step forward in tackling the problems of alcohol misuse in Scotland and we congratulate the Scottish Government on its perseverance".

It marks a significant blow to the drinks industry's opposition to minimum pricing on drinks and may set an important precedent.

The SWA said it accepts the court's decision and will continue to work with the government and the voluntary sector to promote responsible drinking and tackle alcohol-related harm.

The SWA, backed by the European drinks industry, had argued that minimum pricing breached EU and global trade law as it interfered with free trade and open borders regulations.

'This is vital in order that the jobs and investment the industry provides in Scotland are not damaged.

European wine and spirits producers have lost their long-running legal challenge against minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland after the UK's Supreme Court ruled that the policy should be allowed to stand.

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