A MINIMUM unit price for alcohol could be in place as early as next April, the Scottish Government has said, after the Minimum Pricing Bill was passed by MSPs last week.
Just ten days after health secretary Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the preferred price of 50p a unit, the Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament by 86 votes to one, with Labour abstaining. The Scottish Government said a 50p a unit price will push the cost of a two-litre bottle of 4.2% ABV Tesco dry cider from £1.69 to £4.20 and a bottle of 40% ABV value whisky from £9.97 to £14.
Sturgeon said her parliamentary colleagues had “done the right thing” by backing the legislation. “I am delighted that parliament has passed the Bill and minimum pricing will now become law,” she said.
But the Scotch Whisky Association, a long time opponent of minimum pricing, said it expects legal challenges to emerge once the Scottish Government notifies the European Commission.
“It [minimum pricing] was first ruled to be a barrier to trade by the European Court of Justice more than 30 years ago,” said SWA chief executiveGavin Hewitt. “No doubt those opposed to MUP across Europe will draw on this case law in the coming months.”