POLICY WILL HELP IMPROVE SCOTLAND’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ALCOHOL
SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the Scottish Government’s minimum unit pricing policy is legal, allowing the legislation to proceed as part of efforts to improve Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol.
The policy was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012 but has been delayed due to a long-running legal challenge. Today’s ruling allows it to go ahead, setting a minimum unit price on alcohol of 50 pence.
Minimum unit pricing is backed by academic research which suggests that the policy will cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions linked to alcohol misuse, which costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“This is excellent news, and a clear vindication of the Scottish Government’s policy.
“This ruling now allows us to go ahead with the policy that was overwhelmingly backed by the Scottish Parliament five years ago and take the action that is needed to cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions.
“The health and wellbeing of people across Scotland is absolutely paramount – and the fact that alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year shows how damaging our relationship with alcohol is.
“From 2015-16, there were 906 alcohol related hospital discharges in Inverclyde. When this is viewed in relation to the population of Inverclyde, the area has the second worst statistic in the whole of Scotland, with only the city of Glasgow recording a higher ratio per population head. This highlights the importance of this policy and indicates that action on Scotland’s alcohol culture is needed more than ever.
“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.
“We will continue to support the whisky industry and work alongside them to ensure their economic success, while maintaining our commitment to promote safe and responsible alcohol consumption.
“Scotland is the first country in the world to implement such a policy – and we should be proud of our pioneering approach that will benefit Inverclyde and Scotland for generations.”