Scottish courts back minimum alcohol pricing despite challenge by Scotch whisky industry

Scottish courts have backed plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland, ruling against a challenge by the Scotch whisky industry, which claimed the plans were a breach of European Law.

Scottish courts back minimum alcohol pricing despite challenge by Scotch whisky industry

The court of session in Edinburgh rejected the challenge by the alcohol industry, and under the plans a price of 50p per unit of alcohol would be set, which means a bottle of spirits will cost at least £14.

Scottish government’s public health minister, Aileen Campbell, said: “I am delighted that the highest court in Scotland has reinforced the initial judgment in our favour from 2013. This follows the opinion of the ECJ [European Court of Justice], which ruled that it was for our domestic courts to make a final judgment on the scheme," reported the Guardian.

The Scotch Whisky Association and wine makers called for other policies to be considered as an alternative to minimum pricing, including an increase in tax.

However, in its ruling, the Court of Session said: "The advantage of the proposed minimum pricing system, so far as protecting health and life was concerned, was that it was linked to the strength of the alcohol."

The ruling comes just months after Scottish government officials met with the Advertising Association (AA) and Portman Group to outline their plans for reforms to alcohol advertising. It marked the first official encounter with the ad industry on the matter since it quietly formed an international group of experts at the turn of the year to advise it on tougher advertising measures.

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