Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

SWA to challenge minimum pricing in Supreme Court

Published:  21 November, 2016

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is set to appeal against the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol in Scotland in the UK's Supreme Court, the organisation has announced.

The move follows the judgment in favour of MUP delivered by the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh last month.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA, said: "Having studied the ruling, we believe the Scottish court has not properly reviewed the legislation's compatibility with EU law as required by the European Court's judgment.

"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. However, given our strong view that minimum pricing is incompatible with EU law and likely to be ineffective, we now hope that our appeal can be heard quickly in the UK Supreme Court.

"We remain committed to working closely with the Scottish Government and everyone else who shares our common goal of tackling alcohol misuse. By working effectively in partnership we hope the long-term trend decline in alcohol-related harms in Scotland will continue."

Shona Robinson, Scotland's cabinet secretary for health and sport, criticised the SWA's decision. "The SWA may want to consider that minimum unit pricing was passed with the overwhelming support of the [Scottish] Parliament, has been tested in Europe, and has now been approved twice in the Scottish courts," she said.

"The time has now come to implement this measure that will save lives."

Under the proposed MUP regime alcohol in Scotland would have to sold at 50p per unit or more.

MUP legislation was first passed in the Scottish Parliament in May 2012 but has yet to be implemented as a result of successive legal challenges from the SWA.

Some 69% of spirits are currently sold below the 50p-per-unit threshold, according to research from data analysts Neilsen.