The Scottish Government’s plan to introduce minimum alcohol pricing has been given the go-ahead by the country’s highest court.
The change, recently approved in the Inner House of the Court of Session, will enforce a minimum price per unit of alcohol of 50 pence.
The plan, first passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, has been at the centre of a lengthy legal battle with the alcohol industry.
In the latest stage of proceedings, the legal challenge led by the Scotch Whisky Association was struck down by Scotland’s most senior judge.
Lord Carloway, the Lord President of the Court of Session, said: “The fact that the legislation would affect moderate drinkers in some way does not detract from the legitimacy of the aim as a measure designed for the general protection of public health and life.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the decision, which ruled that the minimum alcohol pricing plan is not incompatible with European law.
A health expert has responded to the ruling with a call for further action to be taken to restrict the sale of alcohol.
Peter Rice, Chairman of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, highlighted the risks of “a pile-it-high, sell-it- cheap approach in shops.”
He said: “Alcohol is not a normal product to be sold in supermarkets like bread. We really need to rethink the whole way alcohol is sold”.