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UK Supreme Court supports Scottish minimum alcohol pricing

DBR Staff Writer Published 16 November 2017

The UK Supreme Court has rejected an appeal put forward by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) against Scotland’s decision to have a minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

The apex court stated that the government can now implement the rule in Scotland, where from now on alcohol could be priced at £0.50 per unit.

The ruling is expected to improve health in the region and tackle the ‘unhealthy relationship with drink’ in the country.

Scotland will become the first country in the world to have a minimum pricing for alcohol, if the rule is implemented.

The intention of the government is to restrict the amount of alcohol consumed by binge drinkers who generally have the cheapest and the strongest alcohols available in the market.

Alcohol Focus Scotland stated that the maximum weekly recommended dosage of alcohol (14 units) can be bought for £2.52. It also stated that strong cider or vodka or whisky could be bought for not more than £0.18 per unit of alcohol.

By raising the minimum unit price of alcohol to £0.50, the prices of various alcohols could reach more than £4 for bottle of red wine or a four pack of 500ml cans of 4% lager, £14 for a 70cl bottle of whisky, as stated by BBC.

Cancer Research UK has welcomed Supreme Court’s ruling and stated that the initial proposals began in 2012 and got delayed as the court debated whether or not the minimum pricing violates the European Union law. It got further delayed when SWA appealed to the court against this proposal last year.

However, SWA stated that this move amounts of trade restriction and there can be several other ways of effectively handling alcohol misuse.

Scotland health minister Shona Robison said: "This is a historic and far-reaching judgment and a landmark moment in our ambition to turn around Scotland's troubled relationship with alcohol.

"In a ruling of global significance, the UK Supreme Court has unanimously backed our pioneering and life-saving alcohol pricing policy."


Image: The minimum unit pricing is expected to curb individuals drinking stronger and cheaper alcohols. Photo: Courtesy of jeremy sanders/FreeImages.com.