Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 16th May 2023.
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:
Clauses 99 to 105 stand part.
That schedule 10 be the Tenth schedule to the Bill.
Clauses 106 and 107 stand part.
Clauses 98 to 107 and schedule 10 simply reproduce existing provisions for excise controls on anyone making wholesale transactions in duty-paid alcoholic products.
As mentioned during the debate on clauses 72 to 81, and clauses 90 to 97, we are legislating to ensure that all primary legislation relating to the production and use of alcoholic products is located in one place. Clauses 98 to 107 and schedule 10 reproduce the requirements for the wholesaling of controlled alcoholic products. Those controls and requirements will continue to operate in the same way as they do now.
To conclude, these clauses and schedule 10 are an administrative measure to ensure that all primary legislation relating to the production and use of alcoholic products for duty purposes are contained in one place.
We now come to chapter 7 of the Bill, which concerns the wholesaling of controlled alcoholic products. Clause 98 provides several definitions relevant to the chapter, and clause 99 allows HMRC commissioners to make specific definitions concerning whether goods are to be considered wholesale or retail sale. Clause 100 lays out an approval process to allow a person to carry out wholesale activity. Again, that simply reproduces, with updated terminology, sections of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979.
Clause 101 requires HMRC to keep a publicly available register of all approved wholesalers, and clause 102 provides HMRC with powers to regulate the wholesale system. I would be grateful if the Minister could humour me and give me more information on how the register will be made publicly available, what timescales have been given to HMRC and what publication dates will be required for that information.
Clause 103 turns the focus to purchasers of alcoholic products, specifying that a person may not buy controlled alcoholic products unless they are buying from an approved wholesaler. Clauses 104 and 105 and schedule 10 make it clear that a penalty could be incurred if a person knows, or reasonably suspects, that they have bought alcoholic products from someone who is not suitably approved.
Clause 106 defines a group for the purposes of the alcoholic product wholesaler provisions, and clause 107 provides definitions for some of the terms used in the chapter. We do not take issue with this set of clauses concerning wholesale transactions, and we will not oppose them.
I appreciate the points that the hon. Lady has raised. I reassure her that these are technical updates to consolidate the legislation, so that, for simplification purposes, we have in one place all the legislation for alcohol duty and measures—isn’t that a wonderful thing that we are doing?
The hon. Lady made a good point on communication. We will ensure that all communication is as good as it can be, and we will come up with further details on that in due course.