MUP to Euro court

THE Scottish Government’s attempt to introduce minimum unit pricing of alcohol (MUP), with a 50p per unit threshold rate, has been further delayed after appeal judges referred the plan to the European Court of Justice following a legal challenge raised by the whisky industry.
A final decision is now unlikely for at least a year and could take much longer.
The Court of Session judgement overturned a ruling by Lord Doherty in May last year and said there are issues involving EU law, on free trade and on price controls that ministers might set to protect public health, that must be decided in the European court.
The appeal decision followed an action by the Scotch Whisky Association supported by a number of European drinks industry organisations. A number of EU member states have also expressed opposition to MUP.
The policy has the support of several medical bodies and health-promoting activist organisations.
Scotch Whisky Association chief executive David Frost said: “From the outset we said that we believed MUP was contrary to European Union law and that it was likely in the end to go to the European court.”