Reaction: UK industry responds to minimum unit alcohol pricing

Reaction: UK industry responds to minimum unit alcohol pricing

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts responded: "We will now look to the Scottish and United Kingdom governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch Whisky as a outcome of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf".

She said: "Nicola Sturgeon deserves credit for this".

'Minimum alcohol pricing is a policy that clobbers the poor and exempts the rich.

Legislation was approved by the Scottish Parliament five years ago but has been tied up in court challenges after industry bosses opposed it citing European Union laws.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts said the organisation accepted the Supreme Court ruling, adding: '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.

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".

The ruling is the culmination of a five-year legal battle over minimum unit pricing, which was backed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament at a vote in 2012.

The measure is created to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland, and its health-related and social consequences, and aims to target cheap cider and spirits in particular.

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Ministers want to set a minimum alcohol price of 50p per unit, claiming it will help to curtail alcohol-related deaths by clamping down on high-strength brands.

Paul Bartlett, group corporate relations director, said: "C&C Group plc has been a strong and vocal supporter of Minimum Unit Pricing since it was first proposed in 2011".

Earlier this year the Alcohol Health Alliance found the cheapest drink to be available at just 16p per unit in the UK.

The Seven Supreme Court justices in London unanimously ruled there was no breach and that minimum unit pricing "is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

A small number of countries, including Canada and Russian Federation, and some states in the U.S., have a form of minimum pricing, according to the Institute for Alcohol Studies.

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, re-iterated today (15 November) that minimum pricing was "a necessary move to improve public health". 17 percent more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales in 2016.

On average, alcohol misuse causes about 670 Scottish hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week, nearly 1.5 times higher than in the early 1980s.

"Alcohol is 60 percent more affordable in the United Kingdom than it was in 1980 and alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year [US$4.73billion] - £900 for every adult [US$1184]".

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