Reducing harm caused by alcohol

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Minimum pricing decision delayed until summer

In December, the European Court of Justice stated that it is up to the Scottish court to decide if minimum unit pricing is more appropriate and proportionate than other measures i.e. taxation, to protect health.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh held a procedural hearing on 28 January and agreed to hear further evidence, with a final hearing provisionally scheduled for June.

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, and Eric Carlin, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said:  

“Today the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) continued its efforts to prevent the implementation of minimum unit pricing in Scotland. This comes the day after the SWA launched a campaign to reduce alcohol duty on spirits.  SWA’s action suggests that they put profit above health. 

"They are seeking to obstruct both the mechanisms that would reduce harm by increasing the price of alcohol: minimum unit price and taxation. This despite the Scottish Parliament and the courts in both Scotland and Europe accepting the clear link between price, consumption and harm.  

"We are pleased the Court of Session is seeking further evidence. We remain confident that the case for minimum unit pricing will be conclusive and look forward to this much-needed policy finally being implemented.”