Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Game of Chance?

image courtesy of Creative Commons on Wikipedia
Local Works is pleased to report some good news on our proposal to give councils more power over the number of betting shops in their area.

Hackney Council has just submitted the proposal to government under the Sustainable Communities Act – along with 63 councils across the country we have helped them enlist in support.

Now the proposal will be considered by government.

As was revealed in the Guardian last week, England’s poorest spend £13bn on gambling machines. [1] These machines are highly addictive and are causing huge problems to families and communities.

As Nick Small of Liverpool City Council said “We are seeing horrific reports of family breakdown caused by gambling debts, problems with loan sharks. We are pretty sure organised crime is using the machines to launder money. It's out of control in a city like ours, where there are a lot of poorer people."

At the moment, councils and local people are powerless to stop this – betting firms can open shops without needing permission. It is a sign of a broken planning system that favours big business over local people.

However, this proposal under the Sustainable Communities Act would allow councils and local people to limit the number of betting shops in their area.

The proposal is that betting shops are given their own planning classification, as with nightclubs and casinos. This would mean residents and councillors could have a say over every application, and the gambling firm would have to demonstrate there was a need for another betting shop, and that its opening wouldn’t be to the detriment of the local high street or nearby communities.

Government has a maximum of six months to respond to the proposal. So we need the support of MPs to put pressure on government to agree to it.

So please could you e-mail your MP asking them to support the proposal to limit betting shops and give people the power to protect our local communities.

Thanks

Daniel Flanagan
Projects Manager

Editor's Note: We do not know if Redbridge is one of the 63 but we do know that Redbridge, and in particular Cllr Clark, has lobbied Parliament and London Councils on this matter.

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