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Supreme Court backs Scottish Government's Minimum Alcohol Price

15/11/2017

Supreme Court backs Scottish Government's Minimum Alcohol Price

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland can set a minimum price for alcohol, rejecting a challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

 

Legislation was approved by the Scottish Parliament five years ago but has been tied up in court challenges. In a unanimous judgment, seven Supreme Court judges said the legislation did not breach European Union law.

 

The judges ruled the measure was a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

Ministers said a 50p-per-unit minimum would help tackle Scotland's "unhealthy relationship with drink" by raising the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol.

 

The whisky association had claimed the move was a "restriction on trade" and there were more effective ways of tackling alcohol misuse.

 

After the Supreme Court verdict, ministers are expected to make Scotland the first country in the world to establish a minimum price per unit of alcohol, possibly early next year. A small number of countries, including Canada and Russia, have some form of minimum price structure, according to the Institute for Alcohol Studies. Many others have rules aimed at restricting cheap alcohol sales.

 

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:

"Absolutely delighted that minimum pricing has been upheld by the Supreme Court. 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."

 

The Scotch Whisky Association said it accepted the Supreme Court's ruling.

 

Source: BBC News online- 15 November 2017, All rights acknowledged.

2017

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