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Scotland will introduce a minimum price for alcohol to reduce consumption

Scotland will become the first nation in the world to introduce a minimum price for alcoholic beverages, after the regional government won a lawsuit today interposed by the Scottish Whiskey Association (SWA, in English) in the United Kingdom.

London, Nov 15 (EFE) .- Scotland will become the first nation in the world to introduce a minimum price for alcoholic beverages, after the regional government won today a lawsuit filed by the Scottish Whiskey Association (SWA) in the United Kingdom.

The British Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial authority, ruled unanimously that imposing a minimum price per unit of alcohol, estimated at 50 pence (55 cents), does not violate the commercial legislation of the European Union (EU) as it had argued the SWA.

Against the allegations of the association, the judges concluded that the imposition of a minimum cost was a "more effective" measure to make more expensive alcohol cheap-and therefore combat alcoholism-to raise taxes, since in the second case the seller had room to lower the price.

The court said that the measure "is a proportionally to achieve a legitimate objective. "

This opinion ends a long judicial process, which began in 2013, after the Scottish Parliament approved in 2012 a law to set the minimum price of alcohol as a public health measure, and which passed through the European Court of Justice.

After receiving the authorization of the judges, the Government of Edinburgh is now planning to introduce the new rule in early 2018, which will raise the base price of the alcohol unit from the current 18 pence (20 cents) to 50 pennies.

The association for the fight against alcoholism Alcohol Focus Scotland calculates that the maximum amount of alcohol recommended for weekly consumption (14 units) can be purchased for only 2.52 pounds (2.80 euros) in Scotland, a territory where there is a serious problem of addiction.

The new regulations, which will be valid for six years and will expire if the legislature Scottish does not renew it, it will increase the minimum price of a bottle of red wine to about 4.70 pounds (5.2 euros), a pack of four half-liter beer cans will cost at least 4 pounds (4.4 euros) and a bottle of 70cl of whiskey will be worth from 14 pounds (15.5 euros).

The Scottish principal minister, the independentista Nicola Sturgeon, today expressed her "satisfaction" for the judicial resolution, as did the conservative opposition and the health authorities.

The Health spokeswoman of the Scottish Executive, Shona Robison, said for her part that It deals with "a historical judicial opinion" and "a turning point" in the Government's ambition to "transform the problematic relationship that Scotland has with alcohol".

"In an opinion of global significance, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has unanimously supported our pioneering measure of alcohol prices, which will save lives, "he said.

The British Government and the of Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Executive of the Republic of Ireland, evaluate similar measures.

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