Clause 90 - Denatured alcohol

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

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Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury) 4:00, 16 Mai 2023

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.