United Kingdom supreme court rules minimum alcohol pricing is legal

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SCOTLAND will become the first part of the United Kingdom to set a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to target problem drinking.

The SWA, with other sections of the drinks industry, argued the move to impose a 50p minimum price per unit for alcohol would be "disproportionate" and illegal under European law.

Scotland is famous for whisky production but the price change will target cheap, strong alcohol favored by binge drinkers, experts said. The SWA called for government help to overcome trade barriers and protect jobs in Scotland.

"Alcohol is 60 percent more affordable in the United Kingdom than it was in 1980 and alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year [US$4.73billion] - £900 for every adult [US$1184]". The Scottish Government anticipates setting the minimum unit price at 50 pence per unit, subject to the outcome of the consultation and the refreshed BRIA.

On Wednesday, Mr Gething said: "The Welsh Government will now consider any detailed implications of the judgment for the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill, which was introduced to the National Assembly for Wales on 23 October". With alcohol available for sale at just 18 pence a unit, that death toll remains unacceptably high.

She said: "Nicola Sturgeon deserves credit for this".

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. "Let's hope she can now get minimum pricing in place as soon as possible".

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The makers of Tennent's Lager and Magners Cider, C&C Group, have also backed the measures.

"Although the majority of Scots enjoy alcohol responsibly, we are concerned about the availability of strong, cheap alcohol and its correlation with harmful drinking that causes misery across Scotland".

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.

Campaigners hailed the historic move after the Scotch Whisky Association tried to block the legislation.

"We will now look to the Scottish and United Kingdom governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch whisky as a outcome of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf", said Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scottish Whisky Association.

Alcohol misuse results in about 670 hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week - with the Scottish Government saying death rates are nearly 1.5 times higher now than they were in the early 1980s.