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24 July 2017

MUP appeal

serving drinks

The UK Supreme Court will hear our appeal on the minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol on 24 and 25 July. A decision is expected later this year.

Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said "We reluctantly took legal action against the Scottish Government in 2012 because we believed that its proposals for the minimum unit pricing of alcohol were illegal under European law. This was endorsed by the European Court of Justice in 2015 when it held that the Scottish scheme was likely to breach Single Market rules and distort competition when less trade restrictive measures are available.
"The Scotch Whisky industry is an export focussed industry - 90% of Scotch is exported to 182 markets overseas - and we rely on open markets and free trade to sell successfully around the world.  Minimum pricing schemes amount to non-tariff trade barriers and this is of real concern to our industry. Were other governments to follow the Scottish Government's lead, the Scotch Whisky industry - which is an important part of the Scottish economy - would be damaged and with it the jobs and communities which rely on the industry's continued success.  This risk to how we are able to trade internationally is now compounded by the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. 

"We are encouraged that evidence shows that alcohol-related harm is on a downward trend in Scotland.  But we also recognise that significant challenges remain in tackling alcohol-related harm. The Scotch Whisky industry remains committed to tackling alcohol misuse, including through the many projects and programmes we have supported over a number of years that are helping to address the problem. We have worked with organisations across Scotland including the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, civil society organisations, local authorities and alcohol and drug partnerships addressing issues from underage drinking to the impact of alcohol misuse on families. We remain willing to work with new partners, inside or outside government, on these or other programmes into the future."