Scotch Whisky Association and the European Spirits Organisation move to strike down law passed in May
The Scotch Whisky Association and the European Spirits Organisation have today mounted a legal challenge to Scottish Government plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing.
Drinks industry bodies will challenge a law passed in the Scottish Parliament in May that no alcoholic drink is sold at less than 50 pence per unit of alcohol, effective from spring 2013.
However the industry bodies are to argue the law be struck down on the basis the Scottish Government has no authority to legislate on minimum pricing, arguing this area of policy is reserved for Westminster.
Other grounds to be citied in the striking down proposal are based on the law going against EU trade rules and the new law being in breach of the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said it is concerned other countries “are likely to adopt measures similar to MUP", with a “protection and health” justification which would target imported products, and such “copycat measures could cost the Scotch whisky industry £500 million in exports”.
The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, will argue the case on behalf of the Scottish Government on the grounds the law is within the powers of the Scottish Parliament as it has been devised to tackle public health issues, social problems and crime.
The judicial review, which is being heard at the Court of Session, is expected to last six days.