As reported earlier, the Scottish plans for minimum pricing of alcoholic products is facing opposition from Europe. However, recently the United Kingdom’s government has publicly spoken out in support of the plans. Additionally, a Scottish court of Session has permitted Alcohol Focus Scotland to defend the government plans by submitting a dossier of evidence on the harm alcohol can do and the positive impact that unit pricing can have on public health.
Advocate General, Lord Wallace of Tankerness speaking for the UK government has said: “When the case is first heard in the Court of Session later this month, the UK government will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Scottish government, seeking to support and complement the arguments that they present, and in particular ensure that the court has the benefit of the UK government’s experience and expertise in EU law.”
[link=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-19779696]For more on the UK government backing the Scottish pricing plans, read this article from the BBC>>[/link]
A spokesman reacted: “The Scottish government welcomes all support in our efforts to address Scotland’s serious problems with alcohol misuse.” In a court case petitioned by the drinks industry such support has appeared in the form of a dossier by Alcohol Focus Scotland showing scientific evidence on the harmful effects of alcohol and the positive health effects of minimum unit pricing.
According to drinks manufacturers worldwide, who are trying to stop the plans, there is no such evidence. “The government is going to be arguing the case primarily from the point of view that it is within the competence of the Scottish parliament. We wanted to put the public health evidence before the court because the petitioners are saying there is no evidence. We are saying that is not true,” said Alcohol Focus Scotland’s chief executive Dr Evelyn Gillan in an interview with The Guardian.
This is the first time that a charity has been given permission for a third-party intervention in the Scottish courts.