LAST week the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Government’s minimum alcohol unit pricing policy does not breach EU law, meaning that after five years of legal battles since it was overwhelmingly passed by the Parliament in 2012, Scotland can now push ahead with this policy aimed at reducing alcohol harm.

Currently, one in four Scots drink at hazardous or harmful levels (defined as consuming more than 14 units per week) and in Inverclyde last year, there were 33 alcohol-related deaths, statistically ‘worse’ than the national average.

There were also 906 alcohol-related hospital stays in the area, making Inverclyde the second worst region in Scotland in terms of population head.

Clearly then, Inverclyde, and Scotland, has an issue with alcohol. 

This policy is controversial, but that is to be expected considering Scotland will be the first country in the world to introduce such laws. However, it highlights how Scotland is leading the world with its progressive policies.

Despite this, minimum alcohol pricing is not a silver bullet and the SNP Government is looking at additional measures to reduce alcohol harm in Scotland. Introducing a minimum unit cost is however beneficial as it will target cheap, strong booze but will not punish those who enjoy regular alcoholic drinks.

Those with moderate drinking habits will not be affected.

I would encourage people to recognise that this policy will help decrease Scotland’s alcohol consumption rate, rather than jumping to the conclusion that this is to punish those who are conscientious drinkers.