Clause 90 - Denatured alcohol

Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:00 pm ar 16 Mai 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

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

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Ceidwadwyr, Tatton

With this it will be convenient to discuss clauses 91 to 97 stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Gareth Davies Gareth Davies The Exchequer Secretary

Clauses 90 to 97 reproduce the existing exemption from excise duty on denatured alcohol. The exemption will continue to operate in the same way as it does now. As mentioned during the debate on clauses 72 to 81, we are legislating to ensure that all primary legislation relating to the production and use of alcoholic products is contained in one place.

No policy changes are made by these clauses. They reproduce an existing exemption from the charge of alcohol duty for denatured alcohol. In some clauses, changes to the structure and language have been made to modernise and simplify the legislation, but the operation of the exemption remains the same. The clauses reproduce the exemption for denatured alcohol, which is used for the manufacture of products that are not for human consumption, such as paint fillers, cosmetics and toiletries.

The clauses are an administrative measure to ensure that the current exemption for denatured alcohol will continue as now in the newly reformed alcohol duty system. I therefore urge that the clauses stand part of the Bill.

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

We now come to chapter 6 of the Bill, which concerns denatured alcohol. Clause 90 states that the definition of “denatured alcohol” will be provided by the HMRC commissioners. Perhaps the Minister could give us an idea of what that definition might look like. The clause also sets out that alcohol duty will not be charged on denatured alcohol.

Clause 91 specifies that a person must be licensed as a denaturer to legally denature alcoholic products or be a wholesaler of denatured alcohol. Clause 92 provides the HMRC commissioners with a sweeping set of powers, such as allowing them to regulate the denaturing of alcoholic products and the supply, storage and sale of denatured products. Perhaps the Minister could outline the purpose of this wide set of delegated powers or give an example of where he would expect them to be used.

Clause 93 sets out that failure to comply with the regulatory regime for denatured alcohol, as set out in chapter 6, will attract a penalty under section 9 of the Finance Act 1994. Clauses 94 and 95 lay out the circumstances in which denatured alcohol is liable for forfeiture or penalty—for example, when a person produces or possesses more denatured alcohol than they are licensed to.

Clause 96 gives HMRC officers a power to inspect, at any reasonable time, premises being used to produce denatured alcohol, and to take samples. Finally, clause 97 lays out the circumstances in which it is an offence for a person to use denatured alcohol—for example, preparing denatured alcohol as a beverage or purifying denatured alcohol. Most of these clauses simply update and integrate into the Bill provisions already laid out in the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979, so we will not oppose them.

Photo of Gareth Davies Gareth Davies The Exchequer Secretary

Let me again provide reassurance that we are not changing the definition of denatured alcohol, and we have no need to do so—this is a legislative update. However, the hon. Lady should know, for interest and further exploration, that the definition is found in the Denatured Alcohol Regulations 2005. In this measure, we are simply re-enacting existing powers. She should take reassurance from that.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 90 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 91 to 97 ordered to stand part of the Bill.