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Minimum price plans could flout Euro law

Published:  13 March, 2009

Radical plans by the Scottish government to introduce a minimum price for alcohol could almost certainly fall foul of European law, it has been claimed by legal experts.

In a briefing for brewing giants SAB Miller, Brussels-based legal firm Lovells has indicated that the plans by the Scottish government will be challenged legally.

European law bars countries from enforcing measures which could disadvantage importers.
Legal experts at Lovells claim a minimum price could make it economically unviable to do business in Scotland.

The lawyers said: "The introduction of minimum pricing in Scotland is likely to introduce barriers to the free movement of alcholic beverages contrary to EU law."

The Scottish government is keen to push ahead with minimum pricing as part of its campaign to tackle the growing culture for excessive drinking in the country.

It recently emerged that Scotland has shot up the world alcohol consumption league table and now occupies eighth place.