Clause 12 - Restricted premises orders

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 9 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 2:30, 9 Mai 2024

This group of clauses relates to restricted premises orders, or RPOs. These are existing measures that local authority trading standards in England and Wales, and district councils in Northern Ireland, can deploy when a retailer is found to persistently breach tobacco and vape age of sale restrictions.

Clauses 12 to 14 are based on and replace existing legislation in England and Wales. Clause 12 provides that a persistent offender can be issued with a restricted premises order, which could prohibit the sale of products— such as tobacco products, herbal smoking products, cigarette papers, vaping products and any nicotine products —on premises for up to 12 months. This is an important enforcement mechanism for tackling persistent offenders. A persistent offender is someone who has sold tobacco or vape products to someone under-age at least twice within the previous two years.

Clause 12 is important to the overall functioning of the Bill, as it enables trading standards to use a range of enforcement measures and to escalate the punishment for retailers who do not change what they are doing, in order to deter offenders from re-offending. It allows trading standards to take a proportionate approach to enforcement action on under-age sales that reflects the level of offence committed.

Clause 13 requires notice to be given to people who might have an interest in a restricted premises order being made and sets out situations where an interested person might challenge such an order. An interested person is someone who occupies or has an interest in the premises where tobacco or vaping products are sold, such as the manager or the owner. Clause 13 sets out the circumstances in which interested persons are allowed to make representations to the court to try to prevent a restricted premises order being made against a retailer. This is a safeguard to ensure that suitable steps are taken before a restricted premises order is made, and to maintain fairness so that a relevant person is informed of an impending restricted premises order.

Clause 14 makes it an offence to breach a restricted premises order. The offence is committed when a product prohibited under a restricted premises order is sold on the premises. The penalty for the breach is an unlimited fine. Still with me, everyone? This is complicated. Making it an offence to breach a restricted premises order gives trading standards the ability to escalate action to tackle persistent offenders. The penalty of an unlimited fine is a great deterrent.

Clause 15 provides the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care and Welsh Ministers with the power to add to the offences under which restricted premises orders can be made. Again, that is trying to get ahead of the sorts of breaches that could take place. This is a new power for the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care and re-enacts an existing power for Welsh Ministers. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers must consult before making regulations under this power. Additional offences can relate to tobacco products, herbal smoking products, cigarette papers, vaping products or nicotine products only.