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15/11/2017

Eurocare Press Release on UK Supreme Court MUP ruling

Today on the 15th November, the Supreme Court ruled that Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcoholic drinks was legal. Rejecting the appeal by the Scotch Whiskey Association (SWA), spiritsEUROPE and Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV), the Supreme Court found that MUP is compatible with European Union law.

The Supreme Court ruled uninanimously that MUP legislation did not breach EU law, and that floor pricing constituted a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

Eurocare congratulates the Supreme Court on its verdict, and we are pleased that the alcohol industry’s five-year wrangling over MUP must end.

Despite Members of the Scottish Parliament approving MUP in 2012, a flurry of court challenges by the alcohol industry delayed its implementation. Parliamentarians had approved a minimum unit price of 50p.

Absurdly, £3.59 is enough to buy a three-litre bottle of white cider (7.5% ABV) containing 22.5 units of alcohol – almost 9 more than an adult’s recommended weekly limit. At that price, it’s targeted at problem drinkers in deprived areas. The current proposal is that each unit of alcohol be priced no lower than 50 pence, and as such MUP raises the floor price to £11.25. Along the same lines, a bottle of wine or whisky won’t cost less than £4.32 or £14 respectively.

Pleasingly, the delay in Scotland hasn’t hamstrung other attempts to introduce MUP. In Wales, Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans unveiled a draft law on MUP before the National Assembly last month, and MUP features in Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Republic of Ireland. Our hope is that MUP’s concrete legality paves the way for its adoption across the UK and wherever else it is appropriate.

Eurocare’s Secretary General, Mariann Skar, said:

“I’m delighted with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is a targeted measure to address alcohol-related harm in deprived communities. This policy is bound to make a real difference in Scotland. Eurocare now stresses the need for proper evaluation in order to ascertain whether MUP is required elsewhere. ”

UK Supreme Court Judgement & Press Summary are available below:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2017-0025-judgment.pdf

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2017-0025-press-summary.pdf