SNP Government defeats the Scotch Whisky Association to introduce life-saving minimum prices for alcohol sales


The UK supreme court has ruled that minimum alcohol pricing is legal under EU law after a five-year battle between the Scottish government and the Scotch Whisky Association. Minimum pricing will be introduced as quickly as possible with a timetable put before parliament in a matter of days.

In these five years, alcohol-related deaths in Scotland rose as supermarkets sold alcohol at as low as 18p per unit. Though the plan to increase that to 50p per unit will mean a bottle of whisky costing no less than £14, it seems unlikely that whisky consumption was the main target but rather the incredibly low cost of packs of high strength lagers and of often dubiously sourced vodka used with mixers by younger drinkers.

According to the First Minister, in the Guardian today:

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

As with the banning of smoking in public enclosed spaces, Scotland is leading the way on improving public health and putting the interests of the wider community ahead of those of the corporations. How soon will Tory England follow?


9 thoughts on “SNP Government defeats the Scotch Whisky Association to introduce life-saving minimum prices for alcohol sales

  1. macgilleleabhar November 15, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    I don’t believe that this was anything other than political as the tax will hardly effect their ranges apart from alcopops.
    They should be more concerned about protecting their brand names and the protection of the word Whisky after Brexit lest
    foreign distillers flood the market with imitations as there will be scant protection.
    Just realised most distilleries are foreign owned……Oops.


    • gavin November 15, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      When The Distillers Company was being sold off, we saw the Scottish Tories have their finest hour.
      The Tory party split between those fighting for the interests of Dublin and London based conglomerates before being fraudulently taken over by Guinness.

      Scotland First? Not where money is concerned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Clydebuilt November 15, 2017 / 7:17 pm

        Fraudulent take over of Distillers, . . . Brings back memories of . . . Ernest Saunders. . . . Only person ever to recover from Altzhiemers.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Alasdair Macdonald. November 15, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    Minimum pricing, which I support, is only one of a wide range of measures, each of which is supported research evidence, which aim to reduce the levels of alcohol related problems. Yet, the media are presenting this as a ‘one-trick pony’. This measure has the support of ALL parties in the Scottish Parliament, with the Tory spokesperson, Today, welcoming the decision.

    As usual, the BBC Scotland phone in gave time to a range of opponents claiming it would fail and how they would subvert the law. All were unanimous in their support for the right of poor people to poison themselves with booze. There is seldom a piece of social legislation, which has often been supported across the board, passed by the Scottish Parliament, that the media does not afford a platform for opponents, even once the legislation has been passed and gone through all stages of consultation. The smoking ban is regularly resurrected under the banner of, ‘Is it time to stop demonising smokers?’ The Baby boxes were kicked to pieces. And, think of the, literally, HOLY stushie there will be when the Parliament passes legislation to remove the justifiable violence defence against beating children.

    Although there is a tendency for the media to support Tory or Labour lines of opposition, when members of these parties make considered judgements in favour of some legislation, the media will still oppose it. Thank goodness for the alternative media and sites like this one.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ludo Thierry November 15, 2017 / 7:02 pm

    Hi all. Brilliant news re. the MUP decision. Criminal that it was held up for so long. Can’t help smiling at the SWA contending that price isn’t a factor in adapting consumption patterns and that public education was the necessary factor – then – in the same breath – arguing that Hammond should be reducing duty in the Westminster budget as the previous rise in duty has led to a drop in consumption! – We’re supposed to take these institutions seriously, apparently. heard a wee bit of the beeb Jockland phone – in whilst driving to a call this morning – I really must stop listening – my BP is bad enough as it is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Alasdair Macdonald November 16, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Re Good Morning Scotland and minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol, the decision by the Supreme Court was announced and then there was an interview with a representative of the Licensed Trade, who welcomed the decision and stated that his organisation – which represents pubs – had supported the concept of minimum pricing for many years. The tone of the interview, I felt was rather hostile, implying that he was only acting in the vested interests of his members against competition from supermarkets, i.e. implying that his support had an ulterior motive of personal gain rather than being a ‘moral stance’. This is the customary polarisation of the debate – there are only two options (which the Beeb frames) and you have to be at one or the other pole. Of course the licensed trade has a financial interest, but it does not think there is a fair market against the supermarkets. This was responded to with a jibe about ‘happy hours’. Happy hours are, indeed a problem, particularly for residents living near such pubs, but they are a consequence of responses to market conditions. I did not hear any interview with a representative of the supermarkets or of the Scotch Whisky Association, although there might have been at another time within the programme. I am sure the SWA would have been interviewed having lost their action, but having delayed things for nearly 6 years.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. johnrobertson834 November 20, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    NIHR research in place to evaluate minimum pricing in Scotland

    Date: 16 November 2017

    Yesterday (15 November) the Supreme Court ruled that Scotland can set a minimum price for alcohol. The NIHR has funded new research ready to evaluate the consequences of this. There is evidence to suggest that reducing affordability of alcohol reduces consumption and reduces harm. Minimum alcohol pricing aims to increase the price of the cheapest and/or strongest alcohol, thus reducing its affordability.

    Chief investigator Professor Alastair Leyland from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow said: “Scotland will be the first country to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) and so there has been little previous evaluation of its impacts. A number of possible consequences – favourable and adverse – have been identified. Once implemented, policy in Scotland will differ from that in England presenting the ideal opportunity to study the direct impact of introducing MUP.”

    This study aims to determine the impacts (including whether these differ by age or deprivation) of alcohol MUP on selected acute health harms and unintended consequences that may occur. It will assess changes in alcohol-related attendances, and changes in the extent of hazardous and harmful drinking, in emergency departments in Scotland compared to North England. This will help establish whether MUP achieves its stated aim of reducing health harms.

    Surveys will also be undertaken in Scotland and Northern England to detect whether MUP results in a change of source of alcohol or substitution with other drugs, as well as how it changes drinking patterns, particularly for young adults.

    The team aims to understand the experience of MUP and explore the potential mechanisms that may result in unanticipated benefits and harms and how these may differ between groups.

    Professor Leyland continued: “The findings will be of interest to policy makers and the public in Scotland, the UK and internationally. It is expected that alcohol-related attendances at emergency departments will decrease. However, drinkers may avoid paying the increased price if they start buying alcohol not subject to MUP such as via the internet or across the border. There may be some adverse consequences if drinkers switch to illicit alcohol or other drugs.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s