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Scottish courts back minimum pricing

Plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland have been backed by the Scottish courts. The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled against a challenge by the Scotch whisky industry, who claimed the plans were a breach of European Law.

The ruling now paves the way for the Scottish government to implement its policy, passed by MSPs in 2012 and the wider drinks industry must now respect the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament.

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

The Scottish government, health professionals, police, alcohol charities and some members of the drinks industry believe minimum pricing would help address Scotland's unhealthy relationship with drink.

In its ruling, the Court of Session said: The advantage of the proposed minimum pricing system, so far as protecting health and life was concerned, was that it was linked to the strength of the alcohol. However, the judgement could be appealed by the drinks industry at the UK Supreme Court in London.