Clause 55 - Consequential amendments to do with sections 51 to 54

Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:00 am ar 14 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

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

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Ceidwadwyr, South West Devon

With this it will be convenient to discuss schedule 5.

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

Clause 55 refers to schedule 5, which provides consequential amendments to clauses 51 to 54 relating to Northern Ireland. Schedule 5 amends two pieces of Northern Irish legislation—the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 and the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014. Making amendments to existing legislation is required to enable the measures in clauses 51 to 54 to function as intended, and to ensure that the existing legislative regime works effectively. I commend clause 55 and schedule 5 to the Committee.

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

I thank the Minister for setting that out. As we have discussed the effect of these amendments, I do not want to dwell on them. For the most part, they align legislation in Northern Ireland to capture tobacco products, nicotine products and vapes in the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom, including age of sale restrictions and the penalties for retailers who break those laws. It also specifically allows non-nicotine vapes to be captured by the same regulatory regime as nicotine vapes in the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014, which we support.

As the Minister did not accept the amendment that I tabled in a recent sitting, I would like to draw her attention to some of the sections that schedule 5 amends. Particularly, section 12 on fixed penalty notices in the 2014 Act has allowed Ministers to introduce fixed penalty notices of £250 for breach of age of sale. In Scotland, that amount is set at £200. As we have discussed, the proposed amount in the Bill is £100 for England and Wales. Has the Minister given any more thought to that issue?

Likewise, the 2014 Act introduced a duty on councils to share information about fixed penalty notices, convictions and restricted premises and sales orders that had been given by officers in their local authority area. No similar duty has been introduced in the Bill, which touches on points I have made previously about the need for joined-up government to stop repeat offenders slipping through the net. In discussions with the devolved nations about the Bill, what efforts has the Minister made to learn from existing tobacco control legislation? Was it a conscious decision to set the fixed penalty notice regime at such a significantly lower level than in Northern Ireland and Scotland? Once again, I am keen to get a clearer sense of her thinking, although we of course welcome the inclusion of clause 5 and schedule 5 in the Bill.

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

All I will say is that we discussed this matter comprehensively last week and I am sure we will discuss it again.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 55 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Clause 56 ordered to stand part of the Bill.