Mims Davies named sports minister after Tracey Crouch resignation

Mims Davies named sports minister after Tracey Crouch resignation

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mims Davies, the MP for Eastleigh has been announced as the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport after Tracey Crouch resigned over delays to restrictions on fixed-odds betting machines.

Ms Davies has been a Conservative MP since 2015 and previously held the role of Assistant Whip in the Treasury Office. 

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch resigned from the Government last week in protest at the six-month hold-up announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget to the plans she was overseeing.

Mr Hammond defended the delays on Monday saying it was to ensure an “orderly” process for the gaming industry.

The introduction of a £2 stake limit was initially meant to be implemented in April 2019, but will now happen in October.

An impact assessment published in May last year suggested that the new curb should be implemented within 9-12 months.

But Mr Hammond said that following engagement with the industry, it was decided that October 2019 - 12 months after the Budget - would be a "sensible" date to introduce the change.

 

'They are terrible things' 

The chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Nicky Morgan, told Mr Hammond that two people were estimated to take their own lives every day as a result of gambling problems.

"It is the case, isn't it, that the Government has prioritised the preservation of jobs in the gambling industry over the addiction of those who suffer from these machines?" she asked the Chancellor.

Giving evidence to the committee, Mr Hammond said: "I have absolutely no love for these machines. I think they are terrible things.

"But Government has to manage this process in an orderly and sensible way. We are looking at a measure which will have a very significant impact on the industry."

Mr Hammond said that the reduction from £100 to £2 in the maximum stake for a FOBT would effectively mean their disappearance from the UK gambling market, as they will no longer be sufficiently profitable for High Street bookmakers to operate.

In her resignation letter, Ms Crouch said the implementation of changes had been delayed until October 2019 "due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests".

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's a fact there are MPs very interested in the bookmaking industry and clearly they were more persuasive in their arguments than I was."

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