BEVVY LEVY IS COMING!
Courts kick out bid to halt minimum pricing
MINIMUM pricing of alcohol can now go ahead after the final court bid to block it was thrown out.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal which argued the plan breached EU trade Laws.
The Scottish Government said it will now look to implement the policy quickly.
THE Scottish Government is now free to impose minimum pricing on alcohol after the Supreme Court rejected a long running legal bid to block it.
The Scotch Whisky Association took its case to the Supreme Court, the final stage in the legal process, to stop the plan to impose a 50p per unit minimum price.
The Court today rejected the appeal and said the Government’s plan was appropriate and within EU law.
The judgement said minimum pricing targeted the health hazards of cheap alcohol in a way the tax system would not.
Seven Supreme Court judges were unanimous in their decision.
The Act was first passed in 2012 but a series of legal challenges by the SWA through the courts has delayed it being put in place.
The SWA argued it was contrary to EU law on restricting trade.
However, the Court decided it was compatible and that the objective of the law was “legitimate and appropriate”.
Studies have estimated alcohol related deaths would fall by about 120 per year after 20 years of minimum pricing and hospital admissions would fall by 2000 a year.
Shona Robison, Health Secretary, said the government would be looking to bring in the policy as soon as possible.
Ms 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.
“This has been a long journey and in the five years since the Act was passed, alcohol related deaths in Scotland have increased. With alcohol available for sale at just 18 pence a unit, that death toll remains unacceptably high.
The Scotch Whisky Association said it accepted the ruling but warned j obs must be protected.
Karen Betts, SWA chief executive, said: “We will now look to the Scottish and UK govern- ments 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.”
The Supreme Court rejected the legal challenge to minimum pricing of alcohol