Clause 11 - Amusement machines: use of currencies other than sterling

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 15th May 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Paymaster General

We note that under new section 26A(3) references to sterling will include references to the equivalent amount in other currencies on Royal Assent, and that the date when the licence is granted rather than when the application is received is the applicable date. It would be helpful if the Minister could clarify the difference between the date when the licence was granted and the date when the application was received. If it is a matter of writing a letter, that will be more than satisfactory.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon

I also have a small point. In relation to currencies other than sterling, new section 26A(2) says that the exchange rate

''shall be determined by reference to the London closing exchange rate for the previous day.''

Can the Minister advise us whether that is defined elsewhere in the 1981 Act? If it is not, whatever it is that constitutes the exchange rate should be defined.

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Like clause 10, the clause flows from our proposed relaxation of the use of certain payment methods for play machines, following the recommendations in the White Paper, ''A Safe Bet for Success''. Therefore, in future, as well as using sterling coins and tokens, it will be possible to use bank notes, so it may be possible to use foreign currencies for play machines in the UK. The clause ensures that any dutiable amusement or gaming machine remains liable to that duty, even when it accepts payments in foreign currencies. That closes a possible loophole in the current legislation.

The hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) asked about the date on which the provision comes into effect. The date will be when the application is received. I hope that that clarification is helpful.

Like clause 10, the clause makes an administrative change only and does not place any burdens on business or consumers.

The definition is as the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Djanogly) read out. The rate is the closing price on the London market on the day prior to the day when the application is received. I hope that that helps him.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon

What London market is referred to? Is it the London inter-bank rates or Barclays bank's rates?

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

That is an interesting, and slightly esoteric, point, but I understand why the hon. Gentleman makes it, because we want to be as precise as we can. As I said earlier, these are essentially technical and administrative changes, which we are putting in place in anticipation of deregulation, so that amusement machines can operate more effectively in future.

I shall write to the hon. Gentleman to answer his detailed points. I shall type the letter to make it extremely clear and very readable, and I hope that that will satisfy him.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 12 to 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.