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Minimum alcohol pricing timetable to be set out to MSPs

The Scottish Government will bring in the policy 'as soon as possible'.

Pricing: The Supreme Court gave backing to the increase (file pic).
Pricing: The Supreme Court gave backing to the increase (file pic).

The Scottish Government will set out a timetable for the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol later.

Health secretary Shona Robison is due to make a statement to MSPs at Holyrood on how ministers plan to proceed with the policy.

She said the government will move "as quickly as possible" following a court judgment paving the way for Scotland to become the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing.

Supreme Court justices gave their backing to the measure in what was hailed as an "historic and far-reaching" decision last week.

Seven justices at the UK's highest court dismissed a legal challenge that had been brought by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The decision cleared the way for the Scottish Government to move forward with the policy more than five years after MSPs passed legislation allowing it.

The SWA's subsequent legal challenge was heard in the highest court in Scotland and the European Court of Justice before ending up at the UK Supreme Court.

Opponents argued minimum unit pricing (MUP) was "disproportionate" and illegal under European law but the court ruled there was no breach of European Union legislation and concluded the policy was "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

The SWA has said it will accept the Supreme Court's ruling.

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