Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the Scottish Government’s minimum unit pricing policy is legal, allowing the legislation to proceed as part of efforts to improve Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol.
The policy was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, but has been delayed due to a long-running legal challenge. Today’s ruling allows it to go ahead, setting a minimum unit price on alcohol of 50 pence.
Minimum unit pricing is backed by academic research, which suggests that the policy will cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions linked to alcohol misuse, which costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year.
Maree Todd said:
“This is a bold move by the Scottish Government and shows that the health and wellbeing of people across Scotland is absolutely paramount.
The British Liver Trust believes that this decision has implications far beyond Scotland. England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now clear to progress plans for minimum unit pricing.
Judi Rhys, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust said:
“The MUP (Minimum Unit Price) ruling for Scotland is a welcome first step to help stem the rise in deaths from alcohol related liver disease. There has been 400% increase of liver disease over the last 40 years and at the same time alcohol has become less expensive and more easily available. This ruling will impact the most harmful drinkers as MUP affects the cheapest booze and the heaviest drinkers.”
“We look forward to MUP being adopted across the rest of the UK.”
The British Liver Trust is the largest UK charity for all adults with liver disease which is the third leading cause of premature death.
Maree Todd continued:
“The fact that alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year shows how damaging our relationship with alcohol is.
“The evidence is solid; there is a 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.
“We will continue to support the whisky industry and work alongside them to ensure their economic success, while maintaining our commitment to promote safe and responsible alcohol consumption.
Scotland is the first country in the world to implement such a policy – and we should be proud of our pioneering approach that will benefit the Highlands and Islands and Scotland for generations.”
Click the link to view The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012