Mayor renews call for betting shop curbs
Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe has responded to news that Newham Council has lost it's battle to stop the betting shop chain Paddy Power opening yet another branch in its borough. Hackney, like Newham, has a very high number of betting shops, and over the past six years, Mayor Pipe has repeatedly made the case to Government Ministers that councils do not have the powers they need to stop the proliferation of betting shops on high streets, despite high levels of community concern.
This case just goes to show what we have always argued, that councils simply do not have the legal powers they need to limit the number of betting shops opening on local high streets. The legislation gives the bookies too much room to manouveure, and means they can continue to profit at the expense of communities in places like Hackney and Newham.
These companies are like financial vampires, preying on vulnerable people in areas of high deprivation. I will continue to press Government to act on this issue. The argument that current powers are sufficient just does not stand up in the face of the evidence.