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Scotland to introduce minimum price for alcohol

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UK Supreme Court rejects challenge by the Scottish Whisky Association and rules that Scotland can introduce a 50p per unit minimum price for alcohol.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal and ruled that the legislation did not breach European Union Law and that minimum pricing is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Their judgment said minimum pricing targeted “the health hazards of cheap alcohol and the groups most affected in a way that an increase in excise or VAT does not.” The judges confirmed that any increase in tax would impact all alcohol and not just the cheap, strong alcohol which is the focus of the legislation.

The legislation would result in the cheapest bottle of red wine being £4.69, a 1 litre bottle of 5% cider being £2.50 and a 70cl bottle of whisky being at least £14.00.

Ministers are now expected to make Scotland the first country in the world to establish a minimum price for alcohol, and it will be interesting to see if England and Wales, along with other countries, will now follow.

For further information, please contact Andrew Cochrane, Senior Partner & Head of Licensing, on 01332 226 142.

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