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View from council: Government must back £2 bet stake

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 November 2017

Newham Cll PR

Another can has been kicked down the road, another decision avoided by this indecisive and incapable government.

Sir Robin WalesSir Robin Wales

We have long campaigned for the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops to be cut from £100 to £2 to address the concentration of bookies in our borough.

On High Street North in East Ham alone, there are 12 betting shops, bringing with them crime and anti-social behaviour. The borough as a whole has 81 operating bookies from which, it’s estimated, our residents lose £20 million every year.

To tackle this scourge, Newham has led 92 local authorities in a cross-party campaign for stakes reduction and submitted evidence to government to support our call.

This locally led campaign has had the backing of MP Stephen Timms, who has used his voice in the Commons to regularly remind the government of the importance of the issue to the residents of Newham.

But instead of listening to this broad coalition of campaigners, the government has lent its ear to the multi-million pound gambling industry and its lobbyists, and fudged the decision by opening up further unnecessary “consultation”.

This is simply a delaying tactic which the residents of Newham cannot afford.

I believe we have already proved the case, and the government should introduce an immediate stake reduction to £2.

This is the only way to dramatically improve

our high streets and protect the finances of thousands of people across the country.

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