UK Supreme Court Allows Scotland to Effectively Stop Poorer People Buying Alcohol

UK Supreme Court Allows Scotland to Effectively Stop Poorer People Buying Alcohol

UK Supreme Court Allows Scotland to Effectively Stop Poorer People Buying Alcohol

Scottish government ministers are now likely to set a floor price for all alcohol sold in Scotland as early as next April, following their victory in a long and bitter court battle with the Scotch Whisky Association.

The UK Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the 2012 Act did not breach European Union law and determined that minimum pricing for alcohol was a lawful means of achieving a legitimate aim.

"The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has mounted a legal challenge to try to halt the price hike, which it said is 'disproportionate" and illegal under European law.

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

Members of the Scottish Parliament passed the legislation fie years ago but it has not been brought in due to the legal challenge.

The Judgment said: "Minimum pricing is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

The measure is created to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland, and its health-related and social consequences, and aims to target cheap cider and spirits in particular.

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

Some form of minimum pricing is in place in six countries - Canada, certain states of the USA, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan - but this is understood to be the first time a government has set a floor price per unit.

"Minimum unit pricing will continue to remain under review pending the impact of its implementation in Scotland". With both the Republic of Ireland and Wales also planning to introduce a Minimum Unit Price for alcohol the days of alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices are hopefully coming to an end.

During the 1980s alcohol deaths in Scotland had been relatively stable, at roughly 600 per year, but in 2006 drink-related deaths peaked at 1,546.

"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]".

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.

Research by Sheffield University has suggested a 50p minimum unit price could result in 121 fewer deaths a year after 20 years, while hospital admissions could fall by more than 2,000 a year by then.

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