Scotland gets all-clear for minimum alcohol pricing as judges reject appeal

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Alcohol Focus Scotland claimed previous year the maximum recommended weekly intake of drink - 14 units - could be bought for just £2.52 (US$3.27). The move would be introduced as quickly as possible, she said.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts responded: "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".

This morning, Justices Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed and Lord Hodge announced their decision that MUP "does not breach European Union law" and is a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

The SWA said there were better ways to achieve the Scottish Government's proposed 50p per unit minimum pricing plan.

For years Scottish ministers have attempted to hike alcohol prices in a bid to tackle a perceived binge-drinking problem, but the SWA had slammed the proposal as "ineffective and illegal" and took its battle against the measures to 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'.

However, last year, Scotland's Court of Session ruled in favour of MUP, prompting the SWA to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives health spokesman, said his party would support the Scottish government on implementing the legislation.

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.

"Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm, minimum pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families".

Earlier this year the Alcohol Health Alliance found the cheapest drink to be available at just 16p per unit in the UK.

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. 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. 17 percent more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales in 2016.

Alcohol-related deaths in Scotland have risen 10 percent since 2015 and the government says Scotland's troubled relationship with drink is significantly worse than the rest of the UK.

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