THE fight over plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland has taken another twist.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has been given the green light to take its appeal against the Scottish Government’s policy to the Supreme Court.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has granted the SWA permission to take its fight to the court.

It comes after the Court of Session rejected the SWA’s appeal against the measure in October.

The move is the latest step in an extended legal wrangle over the proposals, which has delayed implementation of a policy aimed at tackling Scotland’s drink problem.

The SWA wants to stop ministers going ahead with their plans and believes that MUP is incompatible with EU law.

SWA acting chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird said: “We now hope the appeal can be heard quickly by the Supreme Court, with a final ruling next year.”

She has previously insisted the SWA’s intention to continue the legal challenge was not taken lightly and followed wide consultation. She has also described the proposed measure as likely to be “ineffective”.

But Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said it is time for the SWA to give up the fight, which has previously gone as far as the European Court of Justice (ECJ). She said: “It is so frustrating that the Scotch Whisky Association will not accept this is the end of the road for their misguided and damaging legal action.

“In the four-and-a-half years since the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass minimum unit pricing, at least 4,500 Scots have died of alcohol-related diseases.

“We know that the heaviest drinkers buy the cheapest, strongest alcohol and that’s why minimum pricing is such an effective policy.”

The Supreme Court said it was likely the case would be heard in the first half of 2017.