THE Scottish Government has dismissed claims by several EU member countries that a minimum unit price for alcohol would be illegal.
A recent investigation carried out by the BBC found that five European nations – France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria – consider minimum pricing to be illegal and believe that it would have a negative impact on trade.
However, Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said the government remains committed to minimum pricing, referring to the recent Court of Session ruling in favour of the policy.
“The only judgement in law on minimum unit pricing of alcohol, as proposed by the Scottish Government, found comprehensively in favour of the policy,” said Neil.
“The Court of Session recognised the overwhelming evidence that minimum unit pricing will reduce alcohol consumption, with a particular impact on hazardous and harmful drinkers who experience so much of the alcohol-related harm we see in Scotland.
“Minimum pricing will save lives and reduce alcohol-related harm and the costs associated with it.
“We believe the policy, backed by expert opinion, is the most effective pricing measure to address the availability of high-strength low-cost alcohol.”
The Scotch Whisky Association is currently appealing against the Court of Session ruling.