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Hackney Council has unanimously passed a Labour motion putting further pressure on the Government to give local authorities more power over the number of betting shops on the high street.

The motion is the latest action in a seven-year campaign led by Hackney Council to give betting shops their own use class in planning law. This would give local authorities much greater say over the establishment of betting shops on the high street. In April this year the Government indicated that it would meet the campaign's demand, and this motion calls on the Government to follow this up with concrete action.

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, said:

“For seven years Hackney Council has been calling for more powers to stop the spread of betting shops on our high street. Earlier this year we led a nationwide campaign for betting shops to be given their own use class in planning law, and the Government appeared to concede to this demand. But it is crucial that we get clarity and urgency from the Government, so local authorities can get on with responding to residents’ widespread concerns about betting shops.

“The campaign has had cross-party support across London and I am pleased that all parties support the campaign here in Hackney. It demonstrates the strength of feeling about this issue across Hackney, and our determination to get the powers we so desperately need. We want to ensure that our high streets are not dominated by betting shops, so we will be keeping up the pressure on the Government to bring forward its plans.”

There are around 65 betting shops in Hackney, with eight on Mare Street alone. Between January 2010 and December 2012 there was a 13% increase in the number of betting shops in London town centres.

A petition by Hackney Council calling for a new use class in planning law for betting shops has been signed by almost 1,500 people. You can add your name here.

The full text of the motion is available here.

Council unites for Labour betting shop campaign

Hackney Council has unanimously passed a Labour motion putting further pressure on the Government to give local authorities more power over the number of betting shops on the high street. The motion is the latest action in...

bookies

Hackney Labour Mayor Jules Pipe has welcomed the announcement to change the planning laws for betting shops.

There are about 65 betting shops in Hackney, with eight on one street alone.  Labour run Hackney has lobbied successive governments over the past seven years to give councils and their residents a greater say on applications for betting shops. In February this year it submitted a proposal to government under the Sustainable Communities Act to give betting shops their own planning class. The submission received cross-party support from boroughs across London and 35 councils outside the capital. An online petition was set up so people could show their support.

Hackney's Labour Mayor Jules Pipe said: "This announcement represents a real victory for Hackney Labour and local government.  Labour Hackney, along with authorities across the country, has long been calling on government to give us the tools to tackle the blight of bookies in our high streets. At last ministers have listened to the overwhelming weight of public and council opinion against the current betting shop free-for-all.

"We will have to examine the detail of these proposals. If they do deliver real change to planning law Hackney Labour will push for any new legislation to be brought in as soon as possible.  Change cannot come soon enough.  Hackney Labour will be vigilant - powerful gambling lobby makes a lot of money out of Hackney and will try its best to water down these proposals.

"For too many years we have been left powerless to stop betting shops taking over our high streets, much to the frustration of our residents.  Gambling firms often cynically target deprived communities, acting like financial vampires feeding off vulnerable people, fuelling addictions and other problems and adding to the difficulties of already hard-pressed families. 

"They also sap the vibrancy and variety from our high streets, and squeeze out potential local enterprises which could use the premises for something positive and constructive up to this."

 

Beat the bookies

Hackney Labour Mayor Jules Pipe has welcomed the announcement to change the planning laws for betting shops. There are about 65 betting shops in Hackney, with eight on one street...

Hackney Labour councillors Karen Alcock (Cabinet member for Housing Policy) and Clayeon McKenzie (Chair of Living in Hackney Scrutiny Committee) attended the event organised by DIGS on 26th April, lending their support to the campaign to improve the private rented sector.

There are estimated to be 32,00 privately renting households in Hackney. There is high demand in the sector, and poor standards can also be a real problem. We work closely with DIGS and other housing organisations such as Shelter to identify practical solutions to try to get a better deal for tenants in the private rented sector.

Hackney Labour’s manifesto for 2014 sets out a number of pledges:

  • to set up a Social Lettings Agency
  • to work towards the licensing of all landlords in the borough
  • to improve the advice and information available to private renters.

We will also campaign for improved powers to regulate the private rented sector. While local authorities are constrained by the powers available (for instance on rents and lengths of tenancies), we are committed to doing more.

The Council has also relaunched the information and advice pages for private renters in Hackney – DIGS contributed to this process and it was also informed by the recent scrutiny review carried out by Living in Hackney.

The Coalition Government has done very little to progress better regulation of the private rented sector - whether at the London level or in Government. One of the first things the Coalition did was to abandon the recommendations of the Rugg Review of the Private Rented Sector set up under last Labour Government.

A better deal for the private rented sector

Hackney Labour councillors Karen Alcock (Cabinet member for Housing Policy) and Clayeon McKenzie (Chair of Living in Hackney Scrutiny Committee) attended the event organised by DIGS on 26th April, lending...

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