Ruling on minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland due ‘in near future’

The Scottish Government are looking to introduce a minimum pricing on alcohol. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The Scottish Government are looking to introduce a minimum pricing on alcohol. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A panel of top judges have told some of Scotland’s most senior lawyers that they need time to consider the legality of minimum pricing alcohol legislation.

Lord Carloway told advocates acting for the Scotch Whisky Association and the Scottish Government that he will issue his decision on the matter in the near future.

The Lord President was sitting with Lord Brodie and Lord Menzies in a case which was brought to the Court of Session in Edinburgh by the Scotch Whisky Association.

The SWA believe that legislation which will introduce a 50p minimum price for alcohol contravenes European Union competition law.

However, the Scottish government believes that the law would cut consumption and reduce deaths and illnesses caused by alcohol.

Last month Gerry Moynihan QC told the hearing that studies show that the numbers of Scots dying from alcohol consumption has increased in recent years.

Under Scottish government plans, the cheapest bottle of wine would be £4.69, a four-pack of 500ml cans of beer would cost at least £4 and a bottle of whisky would not be sold for less than £14.

The SWA’s lawyer, Aidan O’Neill QC, told the judges that they had to consider the matter purely on whether the legislation contravened economic laws.