Scotland politics

Minimum alcohol pricing brought in 'as soon as possible', says minister

Row of bottles of wine on shelf Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption MSPs backed the policy of minimum pricing of alcohol in 2012

The minimum pricing of alcohol will be brought in "as soon as possible", Scotland's Health Minister Shona Robison has told Holyrood.

Ms Robison made her pledge in response to a question by SNP MSP James Dornan.

Last week the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that the policy, backed by MSPs four years ago, did not breach European law.

The case was brought by the Scotch Whisky Association which has the right to appeal the court's decision.

Under the plan, a price of 50p per unit of alcohol would be set, taking a bottle of spirits to at least £14.

The Scottish government believed minimum pricing would help address Scotland's "unhealthy relationship with drink".

Asked by Mr Dornan what the government's next step would be following the Court of Session ruling, Ms Robison said: "The Scottish government intends to implement minimum unit pricing as soon as possible - the order bringing minimum pricing in must first be laid in draft in the Scottish Parliament for approval before it can be made by Scottish ministers."

She did not elaborate on what that timetable would be.

However, Ms Robison urged the Scotch Whisky Association not to take the matter back to the appeal courts.

She said: "While we respect the right of the Scotch Whisky Association to seek permission to appeal the judgement I hope it will accept it, enabling us to get on with implementing this life-saving policy."

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