Clause 16 - Restricted sale orders

Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 9 May 2024.

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

Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Labour, Mitcham and Morden

With this it will be convenient to discuss clause 17 stand part.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Clauses 16 and 17 are based on and replace existing legislation for England and Wales. They relate to restricted sale orders, which is one of several measures in the Bill that will ensure that our enforcement approach to tackling under-age sales is both effective and proportionate.

Clause 16 provides that a persistent offender can be issued with a restricted sale order, which is similar to a restricted premises order but puts a ban on an individual from selling tobacco or vape products rather than a business. The clause is important for the overall functioning of the Bill as it provides local authority trading standards with a further tool for enforcement. Restricted sale orders also act as a deterrent to persistent offenders as they apply to a specific person, regardless of their place of employment.

Clause 17 makes it an offence to breach a restricted sale order. The offence is committed when the individual has done something, such as sell a product, that they have been prohibited from doing under the order. As with restricted premises orders, making it an offence to breach restricted sale orders gives local authority trading standards the ability to escalate action to tackle persistent offenders. The penalty for breaching a restricted sale order is an unlimited fine, which will again be a good deterrent. I commend clauses 16 and 17 to the Committee.

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (Primary Care and Public Health)

Once again, we support these clauses, which will provide an effective deterrent to those who would sell addictive products to children and ensure that repeat offenders have that freedom taken away. I echo my comments on restricted premises orders: the success of the policy will depend on effective enforcement. May I ask the Minister why the Government have not provided similar powers to add to the list of relevant offences for which a restricted sale order can be issued, as they have with a restricted premises order? What is the rationale there?

Likewise, I am interested in whether the Minister has data on how many of those orders have been issued in relation to tobacco in recent years. I think she has clarified that the orders are designed to stop repeat offenders being able to simply move around, but can she assure us that local trading standards authorities are sufficiently joined up, and that someone moving between different shops in other local authorities in a retail chain could be picked up?

Once again, we support the principle of the clauses, which brings the consequences of breaching age of sale law for vaping and nicotine products into line with the existing laws for tobacco, but I have some concerns about how it will work in practice. I would be grateful if the Minister could address those.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I thank the hon. Lady for her points, which were all very well made. If I may, I will write to her about her question of how many times such orders have been used in the past. I will reflect on what she says about the ability to enforce. I have set out the amount of new funds going to enforcement and the plans for further education and training, but I will certainly reflect on her point.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 16 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.