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ECJ's opinion on minimum unit pricing 'encouraging'

The Advocate General to the European Court of Justice, Yves Bot, has today (3 September) said that fixing a legal price for all alcoholic drinks could only be justified to protect public health if no other mechanism, such as tax increases, could be found.

Commenting on the ruling, Professor Mark Bellis, the Faculty of Public Health's (FPH's) lead alcohol spokesperson, said:

"We are encouraged to hear that the European Court of Justice's opinion supports the implementation of a minimum unit price for alcohol. The evidence suggests that implementing a minimum unit price for alcohol would have greater public health advantages and fewer disadvantages than other approaches such as taxation. In the opinion of the court these are the conditions required for a member state to implement a minimum unit price, and we are looking forward to what we hope will be a ruling in favour of a minimum unit price in six months' time.
 
"In England alone, two people are admitted to hospital every minute with an alcohol-related condition. It cannot be right that a bottle of strong cider costs less than a bottle of water. Enough people have already had their health and wellbeing ruined in exchange for big profits for big alcohol companies. The implementation of a minimum unit price, not just in Scotland but across the UK, cannot come too soon."

Written: 03/09/2015 , last modified: 11/01/2016

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