MATHESON WELCOMES SUPREME COURT RULING ON MINIMUM UNIT PRICING

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the Scottish Government’s minimum unit pricing policy is legal, allowing the legislation to proceed as part of efforts to improve Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol.

Minimum unit pricing is backed by academic research, which suggests that it will cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions linked to alcohol misuse, which costs Scotland £3.6billion a year.

The policy was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012 but has been delayed due to a legal challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association. This ruling allows it to go ahead, setting a minimum unit price on alcohol of 50p.

Mr Matheson said: “This clear vindication of the SNP Government’s policy, which was overwhelmingly backed by MSPs five years ago, is excellent news.
“The health and wellbeing of people in Falkirk district and across Scotland is absolutely paramount. The fact that alcohol misuse costs our country £3.6billion every year shows how destructive our relationship with alcohol is and that action is needed to deal with this problem.

“Given the clear link between consumption and harm, minimum pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the scourge of cheap, high-strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families.

“Scotland is the first country in the world to implement such a policy and we should be proud of our pioneering approach, which will benefit Falkirk district and Scotland for generations to come.

“We will continue to support the whisky industry and work alongside it to ensure its economic success, while maintaining our commitment to promote safe and responsible alcohol consumption.”