Reducing harm caused by alcohol


European Court minimum pricing opinion

Alcohol Focus Scotland responds to today’s opinion on minimum unit pricing from the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice

The Advocate General confirms that minimum unit pricing is not precluded by EU law, and can be implemented if it is shown to be the most effective public health measure available.

Comment from Jennifer Curran, Acting Deputy Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland:

"Today’s opinion from the Advocate General hopefully means we are one step closer to implementing minimum unit pricing in Scotland.

"Taxation alone simply cannot deliver the same benefits that minimum pricing can in raising the price of the cheapest alcohol that causes the most harm.

"More than 2,500  Scots have died because of alcohol since minimum pricing was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2012. In the last year we have seen a concerning rise in alcohol sales and deaths, underlining the need to implement minimum pricing as soon as possible.

"The cheapest, strongest alcohol is mainly bought by harmful drinkers and more than half of all the alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-sales is cheaper than 50p per unit. Evidence shows that a minimum unit price of 50p will protect health, cut crime and save lives.

"By taking this legal action in the first place, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) have undermined the collective view of the Scottish Parliament and they are costing taxpayers thousands of pounds in legal costs. It is quite clear that the multinational companies represented by the SWA prioritise their profits over people’s lives."

Link to European Court of Justice Opinion