Minimum unit pricing in England is back under consideration | The Drinks Business

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, junior health minister Steve Brine said health officials carry out a “review of the evidence for minimum unit price in England,” as part of the government’s commitment to tackling problem drinking.

“That’s why we are developing a new alcohol strategy,” he said.

Scotland became the first country to introduce an MUP of 50p on alcohol on 1 May, six years after the law was first passed.

Scottish ministers have said that a minimum price would help tackle Scotland’s “unhealthy relationship with drink” by raising the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol.

However, the government faced strong opposition from the drinks industry. Since 2012, it has been challenged in court by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) which lost its final appeal in the Supreme Court in November 2017.

MUP was initially proposed in England in 2012, but the government’s plans were crapped just over a year later after a fierce backlash from the industry derailed their plans.

At the time Gavin Hewitt, then chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, highlighted the potential problems such a move would have created under European law by pointing to the situation in Scotland, where minimum pricing remains on the agenda.

“Several EU member states and the European Commission have expressed concerns about the legality and effectiveness of the proposals for minimum unit pricing in Scotland, which we will continue to oppose,” Hewitt said, despite an Edinburgh court dismissing the claims.

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Minimum unit pricing in England is back under consideration.