Minimum alcohol pricing can go ahead, court rules

Legal win lets Scotland be first country with minimum unit pricing for alcohol

Research into the impact of minimum unit pricing was carried out by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group at the University of Sheffield, with director Professor Petra Meier saying this had shown the minimum unit pricing will "reduce alcohol-related health problems in Scotland by targeting the cheap, high-strength alcohol consumed by the heaviest and highest-risk drinkers".

Ministers said it would help fight Scotland's "unhealthy relationship with drink".

"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]".

'With alcohol available for sale at just 18 pence a unit, that death toll remains unacceptably high.

European wine and spirits producers have lost their long-running legal challenge against minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland after the UK's Supreme Court ruled that the policy should be allowed to stand.

A spokesperson for Aston Manor Cider said: "We believe sincerely this is the wrong outcome". Those working in drug and alcohol services and the homelessness sector are clear that to make a substance misused more expensive or to restrict supply will merely displace misuse to another substance or prompt a greater proportion of scarce resources to be directed to sustain misuse, making matter worse for those in crisis and those around them.

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The Royal College of Psychiatrists also gave its backing, with chair of the Faculty of Addictions Psychiatry in Scotland Dr Ahmed Khan stating: "Scotland is the highest consumer of alcohol in the United Kingdom and, subsequently, has the highest mortality rates, including a fivefold rise in liver disease in the last decade, especially amongst women".

'As a Scotsman, I feel that this decision, which will inevitably drive up the cost of whisky, is an attack on our culture and our heritage'.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who first pitched a minimum price of 45p per unit in September 2010, said she was "absolutely delighted" with the court's decision. We welcome today's landmark decision.

"Now that the Supreme Court have made their ruling, we urge the industry to get behind the decision".

On Wednesday, Mr Gething said: "The Welsh Government will now consider any detailed implications of the judgment for the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill, which was introduced to the National Assembly for Wales on 23 October".

Scottish ministers have prepared a draft order specifying a minimum price per unit of 50p, but neither the 2012 Act nor the order have been brought into force because of the legal proceedings. "Moreover, we also hope similar legislation can be realised across other territories we operate in, including Ireland and Northern Ireland".

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