Clause 111 provides that producers of alcoholic products can offset amounts of alcohol duty that are owed to them against other amounts of alcohol duty that they have been charged. Clause 112 and schedule 12 make provisions about duty stamps.
The next measures in the group cover repeals, further amendments and transitional provisions. Clause 113 provides a list of legislation repealed as a consequence of this Bill, including the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and sections 4 and 5 of the Finance Act 1995. I can see that that is because the Bill will replace those pieces of legislation. Clause 114 and schedule 13 make minor and consequential amendments to other legislation.
The next clauses within the group concern transitional provisions included in the Bill. Clause 115 provides for a temporary period for treating wine of between 11.5% and 14.5% ABV as if the strength were 12.5% ABV, lasting for eighteen months after the new system comes into force. Clause 116 provides a temporary exemption from the new alcohol duty regime for cider that is produced before the new approvals system comes into force, as long as the cider is produced by a cider maker producing less than 70 hectolitres a year. I know that many affected businesses will be grateful that transitional arrangements are being put in place, but they will want to know precisely how those arrangements will be implemented and any tapering, and they will want confirmation of the time periods involved.
We are now at the final set of clauses within this group, concerning final provisions. Clause 117 provides an index of terms defined in this part of the Bill, with a reference to where further detail can be found for each term. That includes terms that we have already discussed, such as “alcoholic strength”, “excise duty point” and “qualifying draught product”.
Clauses 118 and 119 provide broad delegated powers to the HMRC commissioners to provide supplementary provisions to the alcohol duty regime. Will the Minister outline examples of what those supplementary provisions might be, why the negative procedure has been thought appropriate and how affected groups will be consulted prior to any further changes?
Finally, clause 120 concerns the commencement of the new alcohol duty regime. At this stage, perhaps the Minister could confirm—he did not when I asked him previously—when the new alcohol duty regime is expected to come into force, and that there will be no further U-turns or delays.
As has been the trend, we will not be opposing these measures. I look forward to continuing our discussion of the new alcohol duty regime on Report, where I hope to be able to extract the detail and certainty that businesses so desperately need from this Government.