Alcohol appeal goes to Supreme Court
THE UK’s highest court is to rule on a challenge over plans to use minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland.
Seven Supreme Court justices will announce their findings today after hearing from the Scotch Whisky Association that minimum unit pricing is “disproportionate” and illegal under European law.
A lawyer representing the SWA argued at a hearing in London in July that there were better ways to achieve the Scottish Government’s aim of improving public health.
The fresh challenge came after the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s top civil court, rejected the SWA’s appeal against the measure in October 2016. But judges at the same court later gave the whisky body permission to take their fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
The legal wrangle over the proposals began in 2012.
The SWA say alternative pricing measures would be less disruptive to free trade and would have less of an impact on competition across the EU single market, while still achieving the aims of the Scottish Government to improve public health.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Alcohol is 60 per cent more affordable in the UK than it was in 1980 and alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6billion a year.
“There is strong evidence that tackling price helps reduce consumption and related harm.”
HARM Shona Robison