Victory: third sector hails minimum pricing

Posted November 16, 2017

"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".

Minimum alcohol pricing is to launch in Scotland in early 2018, followed by Wales and then possibly England as well.

Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for alcohol as a way of improving public health after the Scotch Whisky Association lost an appeal against the plan at the UK's highest court.

Minimum alcohol pricing set to come into force in Scotland

The Scottish government has committed to a review of the policy after five years while a "sunset" provision, included in the legislation, means that it will expire after six years unless renewed by a ministerial decision which receives the positive approval of the Scottish parliament. Just to give an example of the hell Nicola Sturgeon is set to unleash, the move would mean that a bottle of Frosty Jacks - now around £4 ($5.27) - would cost £22.50 ($29.60).

During a hearing in July, the judges heard argument from the organisation that minimum unit pricing (MUP) is "disproportionate" and illegal under European law.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus, said the decision was a "massive victory for Scotland's health and for our democracy". "Let's hope she can now get minimum pricing in place as soon as possible".

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"My association has been arguing for price controls on alcohol since Retail Price Maintenance on Alcohol was abolished in the late 1960's", he said.

'This has been a long journey and in the five years since the Act was passed, alcohol-related deaths in Scotland have increased.

However, the judgement handed down by justice Lord Mance said that increasing alcohol price by an excise duty or Value-Added Tax increase would not be "equally" effective at targeting and preventing the sale of cheap alcohol. Minimum pricing, as a concept, was also easier to understand and simpler to enforce.

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"It is important to say however that minimum pricing will not be the panacea for all harmful drinking practices, nor will it drive more people back to the pub".

Scotland's 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".

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.

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