Scores of Com­mons staff gag­ging deals

Don’t ig­nore the peril that hides on­line

Daily Mirror - - NEWS -

THE Gov­ern­ment is right that prob­lem gam­bling dev­as­tates lives.

But in sin­gling out bet­ting shops, it risks ig­nor­ing the other “so­cial blight” caus­ing un­told harm – largely out of sight.

The ex­plo­sion in on­line gam­bling has been dra­matic, and wor­ry­ing, in equal mea­sure.

Watch any sport on com­mer­cial TV and you’re bom­barded with ad­verts to gam­ble, of­ten right now, and with “free” bets thrown in. It’s made to look fun and, for most peo­ple, BOSSES at the Com­mons have used scores of gag­ging deals when set­tling em­ploy­ment dis­putes with staff.

There have been 53 set­tle­ment agree­ments which in­clude con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses in the past five years, the Com­mons Com­mis­sion has re­vealed. Labour MP it will be. But it also risks de­liv­er­ing the drug to gam­bling addicts wher­ever they are, with pre­cious few checks.

Own­ers of bet­ting shops bear a lot of the blame for fail­ing to keep their house in or­der.

The book­ies used to be where you’d have a flut­ter on horses but own­ers got greedy and Justin Mad­ders’ of­fi­cial ques­tion led to the Com­mis­sion dis­clos­ing the fig­ures.

He claimed they raise “se­ri­ous ques­tions about the cul­ture oper­at­ing in Par­lia­ment”.

In a writ­ten re­sponse for the Com­mis­sion, Lib Dem MP Tom Brake said rea­sons for con­fi­den­tial­ity

used fixed odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals as a colos­sal money spin­ner.

But min­is­ters must act on their vague com­mit­ments to get tough with on­line op­er­a­tors too.

Af­ter all, these firms know – or should do – ex­actly who their cus­tomers are, their cir­cum­stances and how much they are gam­bling at any sec­ond.

Yet odds are we’ll have to wait painfully too long be­fore real ac­tion hap­pens. clauses in­clude de­ter­ring fur­ther com­plaints.

He said other grounds are “sup­port­ing an in­di­vid­ual to leave in a dig­ni­fied man­ner” and “not pub­licly un­der­min­ing man­agers”.

Mr Brake added: “Con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses are in­tended to pro­tect the em­ployer and the em­ployee.” It re­cently emerged An­gus Sin­clair, a for­mer aide to Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow, was paid £86,250 in 2010 as part of a deal re­quir­ing him to sign a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment about the Speaker’s al­leged be­hav­iour.

Mr Ber­cow has de­nied all claims of bul­ly­ing.

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