Nicola Sturgeon 'delighted' as Supreme Court gives green light to minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland
Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to introduce minimum alcohol pricing after a landmark legal victory.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely delighted” at the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling, which followed years of legal challenges.
Today's decision will increase the pressure on Theresa May's government to look again at bringing in a minimum price across the UK.
It means the SNP administration can finally implement a policy they first introduced in 2012, but which has been repeatedly held up in the courts.
In their decision today the seven Supreme Court judges agreed that the policy of introducing a 50p-per-unit minimum price was a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.
Following the ruling, the First Minister tweeted:
The Scotch Whisky Association, which had appealed to the court, argued that minimum pricing was an unfair restriction on trade and an ineffective way of tackling problem drinking.
But brewers C&C, who produce Tennent’s Lager and Magners cider, strongly welcomed the decision.
“Although the majority of Scots enjoy alcohol responsibly, we are concerned about the availability of strong, cheap alcohol and its correlation with harmful drinking that causes misery across Scotland,” said the company’s group corporate relations director, Paul Bartlett.
“As part of a package of measures, Minimum Unit Pricing will help to address this”
The Scottish branch of the British Medical Association said the measure would “improve Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol”.
The Royal College of Nursing said today’s ruling should be a catalyst for action from the UK government.