United Kingdom supreme court rules minimum alcohol pricing is legal

The Children's Society has estimated there are 700,000 teenagers across the UK whose lives are being

The Children's Society has estimated there are 700,000 teenagers across the UK whose lives are being"damaged by parents' alcohol abuse

Scotland is expected to become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for alcohol after the Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch appeal against the move.

The aim of the Scottish government is to reduce the amount that problem drinkers consume simply by raising the price of the strongest, cheapest drink.

The British drinks industry is already grappling with an uncertain outlook after Britain's exit from the European Union.

It comes after figures showed there were 1,265 alcohol related deaths in Scotland in 2016 - a rise of 10 per cent on the previous year.

"The introduction of minimum unit pricing will help to tackle this, saving lives and improving life for countless others".

The decision paves the way for alcohol in Scotland to be priced at a 50 pence minimum per unit.

The SWA said there were better ways to achieve the Scottish Government's proposed 50p per unit minimum pricing plan.

The proposal is backed by health professionals and would make the price of a bottle of spirits at least £14, the cheapest bottle of wine £4.69, and a four-pack of 500ml cans of lager at least £4.


Earlier this year the Alcohol Health Alliance found the cheapest drink to be available at just 16p per unit in the UK. The move would be introduced as quickly as possible, she said.

The ruling has reignited calls for the policy to be applied across the UK.

Rooney Anand, the chief executive of brewers Greene King, urged the UK Government to consider following Scotland's lead, saying there were "clear" health benefits.

However, the decision was welcomed by C&C - who produce Tennent's Lager and Magners Cider.

'We will now look to the Scottish and UK Governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch whisky as a outcome of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf. It said it accepted the ruling, however.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, added: "We will now look to the Scottish and United Kingdom governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch whisky as a outcome of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf".

On average, alcohol misuse causes about 670 Scottish hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week, nearly 1.5 times higher than in the early 1980s.

Chris Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the think-tank The Institute of Economic Affairs, said: 'The Supreme Court's decision today is disappointing, but we should be thankful that the legal action has delayed the implementation of this pernicious policy by five years, thereby saving Scottish drinkers hundreds of millions of pounds.

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