Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed the ruling from the UK Supreme Court that minimum unit pricing for alcohol can now proceed.
Alasdair Allan said he hoped the law would “help prevent some personal tragedies in the islands and across Scotland.” The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, but implementation has been delayed due to successive court challenges from sections of the alcohol industry.
Prior to implementing the policy, Scottish Ministers will conduct consultation on the proposed 50 pence per unit price.
Alasdair Allan said: “It’s great news that Scotland is now set to be the first country in the world to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, ending the ridiculous situation where some forms of alcohol are presently being sold for less than the same quantity of bottled water.
“It has been unfortunate that elements of the drinks industry have tried to hold this measure up for the past five years. However, the courts have found no basis for this, and have ruled that the proposed policy is appropriately targeted, lawful and proportionate.
“Minimum pricing is unlikely to affect the cost of a pint in pubs and restaurants, or to have any real impact on the premium product that is Scotch whisky, but it will instead limit the availability of ultra-cheap forms alcohol over the counter.
“The human costs of alcohol abuse are immense and it’s important that Scotland faces up to the realities of this. We have been far from immune from this problem in the islands, and in many recent years we have had some of the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths anywhere in the UK.
“While legislation by itself will not stop all the problems caused by alcohol abuse, today has been an important step forward in challenging and changing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.”