Scotland wins historic victory over alcohol pricing

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Although this was rejected by the Outer House of the Court of Session in May 2013 the Inner House, which is Scotland's highest civil court, referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on appeal after finding that it "raised questions of European law".

The Scottish government has prepared for the introduction of a minimum preferred price per unit of 50 pence ($0.66) per unit, meaning that four 440 ml cans of five percent strength lager would cost at least 4.40 pounds, a 12 percent alcohol bottle of wine would cost at least 4.50 pounds, and a 70 cls bottle of whisky could not be sold for less than 14 pounds.

Members of the Scottish Parliament passed the legislation fie years ago but it has not been brought in due to the legal challenge.

"While most people enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation, we believe MUP is a responsible and proportionate measure that will effectively target widespread access to alcohol that is very cheap, relative to its strength".

Alcohol misuse results in about 670 hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week - with the Scottish Government saying death rates are nearly 1.5 times higher now than they were in the early 1980s.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "absolutely delighted" at the decision but critics tore into it saying it will hit poor families hardest.

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How much will booze cost under the policy?

The measure is created to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland, and its health-related and social consequences, and aims to target cheap cider and spirits in particular. By targeting the correlation between harmful drinking levels and strong, cheap alcohol, MUP will help reduce irresponsible alcohol consumption and moderate the relationship some of our society has with alcohol.

Ferhan Ashiq, owner of Day-Today in East Lothian, said he expects minimum pricing to have a minimal impact, stating: "If anything, the law will give independents a helping hand by prohibiting multiples from undercutting us with low prices and special offers".

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

However, she also said that the trade association would now be looking to the Scottish and UK Governments to support the industry against the "negative effects" of the legislation.

"We will now look to the Scottish and UK Governments to support the industry against the negative effects of trade barriers being raised in overseas markets that discriminate against Scotch whisky as a outcome of minimum pricing, and to argue for fair competition on our behalf".

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