Scotland gets all-clear for minimum alcohol pricing as judges reject appeal

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"In a ruling of global significance, the UK Supreme Court has unanimously backed our pioneering and life-saving alcohol pricing policy".

Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives health spokesman, said his party would support the Scottish government on implementing the legislation.

Price hike: Alcohol will cost at least 50p a unit in Scotland.

But Scotland will be the first nation to introduce minimum unit pricing.

"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".

Alcohol Focus Scotland says that in the first year alone, minimum pricing could prevent 60 alcohol-related deaths, 1,600 hospital admissions and 3,500 crimes.

Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for alcohol after the UK's highest court ruled that the plans were legal and could go ahead.

C&C Group which makes Tennent's lager, also welcomed the move and urged other brewers to support it.

Pub retailer and brewer Greene King said it welcomed the decision and hoped the United Kingdom government would look again at the benefits of minimum pricing in England.

Her government hailed it was a "landmark moment" for public health and that the measure would be introduced as quickly as possible.

The Scotch Whisky Association took its case against MUP to the UK's highest court after members of Scottish Parliament approved the legislation in 2012.

Alcohol Focus Scotland claimed a year ago the maximum recommended weekly intake of drink - 14 units - could be bought for just £2.52 (US$3.27).

"In addition it will adversely affect legitimate consumers, especially those on modest incomes that are typically lower per capita consumers of alcohol than those on higher incomes". 17 percent more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales in 2016.

It marks a significant blow to the drinks industry's opposition to minimum pricing on drinks and may set an important precedent.

He said: "The Supreme Court's decision today is disappointing, but we should be thankful that the legal action has delayed the implementation of this pernicious policy by five years, thereby saving Scottish drinkers hundreds of millions of pounds".

Kenny Alexander, Scottish spokesperson for Drinkers' Voice, added: "The poor, the young and the moderate majority are being made to pay the price for the excessive drinking habits of a few middle aged and middle class drinkers".

"It won't be the ideologically driven Rioja drinking medics and academics who have campaigned for this measure that will feel the pinch but the average man and woman that enjoys the simple pleasure of a drink at a price they can afford".