News

RCN welcomes decision on minimum alcohol price in Scotland

The RCN has welcomed news that Scotland will be allowed to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, becoming the first country in the world to do so

The RCN has welcomed news that Scotland will be allowed to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

The Supreme Court allowed the controversial measure in what ministers in Edinburgh hailed as an 'historic and far-reaching judgement'.

Seven justices at the UK's highest court dismissed a legal challenge that had been brought against minimum unit pricing by the Scotch Whisky Association.

The decision clears the way for the Scottish Government to bring in the policy more than five years after the Scottish parliament passed legislation for it.

Risk of dependency

Responding to the news, RCN public health lead Helen Donovan said: 'The evidence is unequivocal – minimum alcohol pricing saves lives, often among those groups most at risk from dependency.

'From A&E to police custody suites, nurses see

The RCN has welcomed news that Scotland will be allowed to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, becoming the first country in the world to do so.


Picture: Getty Images

The Supreme Court allowed the controversial measure in what ministers in Edinburgh hailed as an 'historic and far-reaching judgement'.

Seven justices at the UK's highest court dismissed a legal challenge that had been brought against minimum unit pricing by the Scotch Whisky Association.

The decision clears the way for the Scottish Government to bring in the policy more than five years after the Scottish parliament passed legislation for it.

Risk of dependency

Responding to the news, RCN public health lead Helen Donovan said:  'The evidence is unequivocal – minimum alcohol pricing saves lives, often among those groups most at risk from dependency.

'From A&E to police custody suites, nurses see firsthand the damage wrought on individuals, families and society by problematic alcohol use. Last year alone there were more than one million alcohol-related hospital admissions.'

The Scotch Whisky Association had brought a legal challenge against the legislation, taking the case to the highest court in Scotland and the European Court of Justice, before it ended up at the UK's highest court.

Better ways to achieve aim

During a hearing in July, the judges heard arguments from the association that minimum unit pricing is 'disproportionate' and illegal under European law.

The association said there were better ways to achieve the Scottish Government's proposed 50p per unit minimum pricing plan.

But the Supreme Court unanimously ruled there was no breach of European Union law and that minimum pricing is a 'proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim'.

Afterwards Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts said: 'We accept the Supreme Court's ruling on minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland.'

Troubled relationship with alcohol

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison welcomed the decision, saying: 'This is a historic and far-reaching judgement and a landmark moment in our ambition to turn around Scotland's troubled relationship with alcohol.

'In a ruling of global significance, the UK Supreme Court has unanimously backed our pioneering and life-saving alcohol pricing policy.

'Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm, minimum pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap, high-strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families.'

She said the Scottish Government would now proceed with plans to bring in minimum unit pricing as quickly as possible, and she would make a statement to parliament setting out the next steps, including a timetable for implementation.


In other news

 

 

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs