The Scotch Whisky Association has decided to appeal the recent minimum unit pricing (MUP) ruling, which it says is incompatible with EU law and likely to be ineffective.
The Scottish Government passed legislation to set a minimum price for alcohol back in April 2012, with no opposition in Parliament, but the implementation of the law was delayed by legal challenges by a consortium of global alcohol producers, fronted by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Meanwhile the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, supported price controls including MUP as effective tools to reduce alcohol-related issues and reduce costs to public services.
In October, the legislation was approved by Court of Session and now comes into effect, meaning off-sales and supermarket alcohol prices in Scotland, which have been at historically low prices, will be impacted.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive, said: “Having carefully considered the ruling from the Court of Session on minimum unit pricing of alcohol, and reflected on our options, we have decided to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It comes after wide consultation with our member companies and other parties to the case to see whether there is an alternative way forward. ”
She said the association believes the Scottish court has properly reviewed the legislation’s compatibility with EU law as required by the European Court’s judgment.
“We remain committed to working closely with the Scottish Government and everyone else who shares our common goal of tackling alcohol misuse,” said Julie. “By working effectively in partnership we hope the long-term trend decline in alcohol-related harms in Scotland will continue.”