Shona Robison calls on drinks industry to end minimum price fight

Shona Robison wants to press ahead with minimum pricing "as soon as possible."
Shona Robison wants to press ahead with minimum pricing "as soon as possible."
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Health Secretary Shona Robison has called on drinks industry chiefs to accept a court ruling to allow the introduction of "lifesaving" minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland.

The minister says she wants to introduce the policy "as soon as possible" after the Court of Session in Scotland backed it last week.

The proposal was first backed by MSPs in 2012, but has been caught up in court battles ever since after the Scotch Whisky challenged its legality under EU trade laws. The body is now considering a final appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

But Ms Robison told MSPs today: "The Scottish Government intends to implement minimum unit pricing as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Whisky industry loses battle over minimum drink price

"The order bringing minimum pricing in must first be laid in draft before the Scottish Parliament for approval before it can be made by Scottish ministers.

"While we respect the right of the Scotch Whisky Association to seek permission to appeal the judgement, I hope it will accept it enabling us to get on with implementing this life-saving policy."

The 50p per unit proposed by ministers would mean a bottle of spirits would cost at least £14 and cheap, strong cider could double in price.

The SWA says it is currently considering the details of the Court of Session judgement and will consult its members before deciding on a possible appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Government proposals have the support of medical leaders and opposition politicians in Scotland, as well as other parts of the drinks industry.