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?