Minimum pricing 'probably legal'

02 November, 2011

Scotland’s move to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol is “probably legal”, according to the government’s public health head Donald Henderson.

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum seminar on Alcohol – A New Approach to Responsible Drinking today (November 2), Henderson responded to a comment by UK public health minister Anne Milton last week that minimum pricing was “probably illegal”.

He said: “The UK government has taken the Carlsberg defence – they say it is ‘probably illegal’. We think it is probably not illegal.”

Henderson added that the European Court of Justice has not yet taken a clear stance on the issue.

The Scottish goverment published its bill to introduce minimum pricing earlier this week. 

Last year the SNP group failed in its attempts to introduce a 45p-per-unit minimum price. But the bill was tabled again after the party won an overall majority in the election in May.

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill does not suggest a minimum price, but lays the groundwork for one to be set in the future.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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