Minimum alcohol pricing set to come into force in Scotland

Minimum alcohol pricing set to come into force in Scotland

Following the backing of the highest court in Scotland - and a referral to the European Court of Justice - the UK Supreme Court has now dismissed an appeal by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), ruling that the proposed minimum unit pricing policy is appropriately targeted, lawful and proportionate.

It is estimated that alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year.

The Scottish Government anticipates setting the minimum unit price at 50 pence per unit, subject to the outcome of a consultation.

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

'We regret, but respect, the Supreme Court decision and hope to count on the Scottish government to ensure a smooth implementation of this legislation, in a way that would as much as possible limit market distortion and preserve a level-playing field.' said Jean-Marie Barillère, president of CEEV.

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

This brings to a close a five year legal struggle over the Scottish Government's plan to introduce a 50p minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol, in a bid to curb harmful drinking of cheap, super strong alcohol. It lodged a series of appeals against rulings by Scottish judges in favour of Sturgeon's plans.

The policy was introduced to combat alcohol-related illness and crime.