Leaders of churches and Christian organisations have spoken out in support of Tracey Crouch following her resignation as the minister responsible for gambling.
The government have delayed introducing a £2 limit on FOBTs until October 2019. Following a wide ranging consultation the government announced earlier this year that the stake on these machines in betting shops would be cut from £100 to £2 to provide greater protection for the most vulnerable and limit the harm caused by problem gambling.
The statement, from leaders in the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the United Reformed Church, the Evangelical Alliance, CARE and Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs, supports Crouch’s resignation.
“For the last five years, since she raised the issue of the harmful impact of FOBTs in her Chatham constituency in a debate in Parliament, Tracey Crouch has been committed to achieving a sensible maximum stake as soon as possible. As a minister, she has shown unfailing loyalty to government policy, while not concealing her real concern. We echo the tributes that have been made to her consistent, principled approach.
“No valid reasons have been given for delaying implementation of the £2 stake. Individuals, families and communities will continue to suffer – at the cost, even, of more avoidable deaths – for six months beyond April 2019, unless the government accepts that the same reasons which led it to accept the change must lead it to bring the date forward.”
Mark Sheard, Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, Church of England
Bala Gnanapragasam, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
Rev Stephen Keyworth, Baptist Union of Great Britain
Rev John Proctor, General Secretary, United Reformed Church
Dr David Landrum, Director of Advocacy, Evangelical Alliance
Alison Mather, Director, Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs
Nola Leach, Chief Executive, CARE