Don’t gam­ble on FOBT date, Phil Chan­cel­lor must drop gam­bling ma­chine max stake NOW

CASIN

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Keir Mudie DEPUTY PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

THE Chan­cel­lor faces an em­bar­rass­ing Par­lia­men­tary re­bel­lion if he de­lays the re­duc­tion in stake on fixed odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals.

Sources say Philip Ham­mond is plan­ning to in­clude a date for the £2 max­i­mum FOBT stake when he de­liv­er­ers his Bud­get later this month.

But he has yet to de­cide when the new rules will be in­tro­duced.

Chal­lenged

And cam­paign­ers – who warn more lives will be ru­ined if the mea­sures are de­layed – are back­ing a Com­mons show­down that could see Mr Ham­mond’s Bud­get chal­lenged.

Back­benchers could put down an amend­ment that would see it de­feated and the FOBT rules brought in.

One source said: “The peo­ple get­ting or­gan­ised are those he needs to keep on­side. At the mo­ment Tory back­benchers are will­ing to rebel at the drop of a hat, so he needs to be re­ally care­ful.

“He’s go­ing to come un­der pres­sure from the back­benches as well as Num­ber 10. They won’t want to go to war over a rel­a­tively small is­sue like this. Af­ter all, these are the MPS they need to keep on­side for Brexit.

“There’s no good rea­son not to do it, un­less pres­sure from the gam­bling lobby is too much.” The Sun­day Peo­ple launched a cam­paign against the ter­mi­nals dubbed the crack co­caine of gam­bling. Rules al­lowed cus­tomers to bet up to £100 ev­ery 20 sec­onds. We fought to have the stakes re­duced to £2. Af­ter years of pres­sure, the Trea­sury fi­nally caved in. But they an­gered cam­paign­ers by ap­pear­ing to de­lay the in­tro­duc­tion of the new rules.

This fol­lowed pres­sure from the gam­bling in­dus­try who claimed the re­duc­tion in stakes would cost jobs and dent their prof­its. Book­ies have claimed it will cost the Trea­sury £250mil­lion a year in lost tax and risk 20,000 jobs.

Harm

Labour MP Carolyn Har­ris, Chair of the FOBT All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group said: “The Govern­ment must set a date in the Bud­get for when the FOBT stake is go­ing to be re­duced, and that should be April 2019 at the very lat­est.

“Any­thing af­ter that would be in­de­fen­si­ble and fur­ther ev­i­dence this Govern­ment cares lit­tle about im­prov­ing so­ci­ety or help­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

“The harm caused by FOBTS can­not go on.”

Flooded en­gine in storm wa­ters En­joy­ing peace­ful punt Huge waves hit town Brolly wet and windy

PRES­SURE: Ham­mond

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