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 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."


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