Clause 10 - Amusement machines not operated by coins or tokens

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 15th May 2003.

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

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

The Government's White Paper ''A Safe Bet for Success'' proposed a relaxation of the current restrictions on the use of certain payment methods for playing machines. By the summer of this year it is expected that players will be able to play jackpot machines using smartcards and notes. Other machines will benefit from the changes early next year. The clause ensures that any dutiable amusement or gaming machine remains liable to that duty even when it accepts payment through methods other than coins or tokens. There is a possibility that machine operators may take advantage of the current legislative definitions of payment methods, such as coins or tokens, to argue that machines accepting payment other than in coins or tokens are not subject to duty. The clause ensures that that loophole is closed. It is an administrative change only. It does not place any burdens on business or consumers. I commend it to the Committee.

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

Given the guidance, I just want to raise a small point. In the interest of time, it will not necessarily mean that the Economic Secretary has to open the whole issue up to drill down to the fine detail. I just want to establish why there is a different structure for the definition of 50p machines, compared with 2p, 5p and 10p machines. It is no more than that. Otherwise, we are happy to support the Government.

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

I have not given that detail of this provision as much scrutiny as the hon. Gentleman. I am prepared to answer the question whenever I can. The reason, I understand, is that rates of amusement machine licence duty are set in those bands.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.