Clause 28 - Consequential amendments to do with this Part

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 14 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (Primary Care and Public Health) 9:25, 14 Mai 2024

Clauses 28 to 32 deal with transitional arrangements after the Bill is passed and before some of its new regulations come into effect to make consequential amendments to previous Acts of Parliament that will be replaced by the new measures in this Bill. I have looked through the schedules and consequential amendments, and I am satisfied that they tie in with the measures in the Bill that we have discussed.

However, I will raise a few concerns, as the schedules relate to the commencement of various clauses of the Bill. For example, the loophole in existing legislation on the free distribution of vapes to under-18s that we discussed should be closed urgently, yet the Government have specified that that should commence only within six months of the Bill’s being passed. Can the Minister explain why she is not taking swifter action? It has already been two and a half years since we proposed changes to the law on this and that the Government take that up. Who is the Minister worried about inconveniencing by introducing the regulations quickly, apart from those who would seek to addict children to vapes? I fail to see what legitimate business could risk being disrupted by going faster here, given that clause 9 specifies that it applies

“in the course of business”,

so it would not necessarily impact the use of vapes as nicotine replacement therapies.

There is also a general point to make about timing. If we soon have a general election, the short campaign will rob us of six weeks of the normal course of business and many of the provisions in the Bill, including the consequential amendments on previous Acts of Parliament, will take effect within two months of the Bill’s passing. No doubt the civil service will ably do its job for the most part in preparing relevant authorities and retailers for the commencement of some of the new powers, but what can the Minister do to reassure me that a plan is already in place for the programme of work that needs to happen so that the transition is as smooth as possible?

Clauses 30 and 31 make it clear that local trading standards may conduct programmes of enforcement and issue fixed penalty notices for the breach of existing tobacco age of sale legislation until the new progressive rise in the age of sale comes into effect in 2027. I see nothing to argue with here, and likewise I have no issue with the transitional provisions detailed in clause 32.