European legality of minimum pricing confirmed
SNP MSP Bob Doris has welcomed reports that the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol is permissible in principle under European Union law.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon held talks with senior officials in Brussels this week, and has been assured that the principle of minimum pricing is compatible with EU law.
Mr Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow and deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee, said:
“The SNP has always understood that minimum pricing would be perfectly legal, but this news is very welcome nonetheless.
“The issue of legality has been used a smokescreen by opponents of minimum pricing, but that excuse is no longer available to them. They must now accept that the principle of minimum pricing is legally acceptable to the EU and that there is no legal barrier to the Scottish Government legislating to introduce it providing certainn key tests are met.
““Alcohol-fuelled ill health and social disorder is serious issue in our society and one that the SNP is tackling head on. Last week’s independent report by the University of Sheffield reaffirmed that minimum pricing will be a powerful weapon in addressing Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with the bottle, which is why it is backed by medical, public health and criminal justice experts.
“Now that any lingering objections on legal grounds have been addressed, I hope that MSPs of all parties will unite in support of minimum pricing.”