• ‘Back Your Local Bookie’ campaign

    The ‘Back Your Local Bookie’ campaign by the Association of British Bookmakers has successfully highlighted positive stories from staff and customers about their local betting shops. There is a long history of betting shops in many communities, and I appreciate that they make a significant tax contribution. I particularly agree that staff who work in betting shops should be supported and I have consistently backed efforts to improve the safety of UK betting shops for staff and customers. The success and sustainability of our high streets is also important. For generations, high streets have been at the heart of our communities – centres that bring people together and define the character of a place. However, in recent years the economic downturn and changing shopping patterns have left our high streets under pressure. As you may be aware, the Government is reviewing the maximum stakes and prizes for gaming machines; the number and location of gaming machines; and social responsibility measures to protect players from gambling-related harm. I welcome this review and have long believed local communities should have more power to shape their high streets. I appreciate there are strongly held views on these matters and I hope that the Government will carefully consider all views that were raised in its recent consultation on this.