Clause 82 - Minor and consequential amendments

Finance (No.2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 22nd April 2021.

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

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon 3:30 pm, 22nd April 2021

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

That schedule 15 be the Fifteenth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 83 stand part.

Amendment 22, in clause 84, page 47, line 20, leave out subsections (5) to (11) and insert—

“(4A) Any statutory instrument containing regulations under this Part may not be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.”

Amendment 21, in clause 84, page 48, line 3, at end insert—

“(12) Before making regulations under this Part the Commissioners must consult with—

(a) industry representatives,

(b) environmental NGOs, and

(c) any other relevant individuals or organisations.

(13) Regulations made under this Part must pay regard to the principles of waste hierarchy and circular economy.”

Clauses 84 and 85 stand part.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary, Minister for Equalities

Clauses 82 to 85 and schedule 15 enable minor amendments to be made to other legislation as a result of the plastic packaging tax. They also enable regulations to be made in respect of PPT. Clause 82 simply introduces schedule 15, which allows minor amendments to be made to other areas of legislation. Primarily, they make provision for certain existing penalties to apply to persons who fail to comply with their obligations for PPT.

Clause 83 sets out the meaning of various key terms used in the Bill relating to PPT. Clauses 84 and 85 allow regulations to be made in respect of PPT. They set out general provisions about making these regulations, including where they are subject to affirmative procedures in the House of Commons. They also give the Treasury the power by regulations to appoint the commencement date of clauses in the Bill relating to PPT.

Amendments 21 and 22, tabled by the hon. Members for Ealing North, for Erith and Thamesmead, and for Manchester, Withington, would require all regulations in part 2 of the Bill to be subject to the affirmative procedure and mandate that the Government consult industry representatives, environmental NGOs and other relevant organisations on all the regulations. I have previously outlined, when addressing their amendment to clause 47, how the Government have consulted and continue to consult with industry representatives and environmental groups, so I shall not go over that again.

With regard to amendment 22, which would make all the regulations in this part of the Bill subject to the affirmative procedure, it is right that Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise legislation, but it is also right that we find an appropriate balance, given the volume of legislation that this House must make. The Government have therefore selected the most fundamental regulations to be subject to the affirmative procedure, which includes regulations that impact on the scope of the tax. We must also not forget that this House has Commons financial privilege, and it is important that we maintain that. I therefore strongly contest the amendment on those grounds. These final clauses and schedule are general in nature.

Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

It is good to have reached the end of the plastic packaging tax clauses. I will speak briefly to our two amendments. Amendment 22 would amend clause 84 to improve scrutiny by making all regulations subject to the affirmative procedure and to prevent use of the made affirmative procedure. Amendment 21 would require consultation on all regulations and require that, in exercising powers, regard must be had to the principles of the waste hierarchy and the need to promote the circular economy.

These amendments simply make the point that I made earlier: much of the detail of this tax will be determined by regulations, and the Government must ensure that they are open to as much scrutiny as possible. The packaging industry will need to be consulted at all stages to ensure that the technical details of the tax work effectively. Environmental groups also need to be consulted, to ensure that the tax fulfils its purpose: to encourage the use of recycled plastic, to increase levels of recycling, to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to protect our natural environment. I hope that the Government will take on board the points we have made in Committee as they take this forward in the next year.

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

I very much agree with the Opposition’s amendments. It is clear that, even with all the consultation that the Government say they have done and all the extensive behind-the-scenes work, concerns will still be raised. It is important that, as we move forward with the regulations and other things, we continue the scrutiny in this House to ensure that we get it right and that those who have concerns about the policy can raise them through elected Members in a public forum. I very much agree with that.

I also very much agree with the point relating to environmental non-governmental organisations and other relevant organisations that may still have concerns that have not yet been addressed, despite the extensive discussions that we have had this afternoon. Involving them as we go forward is crucial.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary, Minister for Equalities

I note the points that have been made. The fact is that no single set of policies will please consumers, businesses and environmental NGOs, but we think we have struck the right balance, and I hope the Opposition will not press their amendments.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 82 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 15 agreed to.

Clauses 83 to 85 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. —(David Rutley.)

Adjourned till Tuesday 27 April at twenty-five minutes past Nine o’clock.

Written evidence reported to the House

FB 01 Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)— Clause 15—Annual Investment Allowance

FB 02 Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)— Clauses 18-20—Reliefs for Business

FB 03 Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)— Clauses 21-29—Employment Income and Pensions (various measures)

FB 04 Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)—Part 2 of the Bill—Plastic Packaging Tax

FB 05 Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)— Clause 112

FB 06 Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)— Clause 113

FB 07 Low Incomes Tax Reform Group— Clauses 112-113—Penalties

FB 08 Low Incomes Tax Reform Group— Clause 122—Financial Institution Notices

FB 09 British Plastics Federation