Yesterday a law was passed that made Scotland the first place in the world to implement a minimum price per unit of alcohol.
The ruling followed a five year court case with the Scotch Whisky Association who claimed that the measure was 'disproportionate' and illegal under EU law. Seven high court judges dismissed the legal challenge. The law had already been passed by the highest court in Scotland and the EU before yesterday's UK high court decision. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled there was no breach of European Union law and that minimum pricing “is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.
Nicola Sturgeon was 'absolutely delighted but the ruling' She said: “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.” The Scottish Government’s believes MUP will mostly affect the cheap white ciders and “value spirits” with high alcohol content that tend to be favoured by harmful drinkers. MUP, simply sets a floor price for a unit of alcohol, meaning it cannot legally be sold for less than that.
Afterwards SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “We accept the Supreme Court’s ruling on minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol in Scotland. “Looking ahead, the Scotch whisky industry will continue to work in partnership with the government and the voluntary sector to promote responsible drinking and to tackle alcohol related harm. We will now look to the Scottish and UK governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch whisky as a consequence of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf. This is vital in order that the jobs and investment the industry provides in Scotland are not damaged. “At home, we hope to see an objective assessment of the impact of MUP.