Minister Tracey Crouch 'on brink of quitting' after Philip Hammond delays fixed-odds gambling crackdown

Posted On: 
1st November 2018

Culture minister Tracey Crouch is reportedly on the brink of resigning after the Chancellor delayed a major clampdown on addictive fixed-odds betting terminals.

The Culture Minister had been lobbying hard for the curbs on gaming machines.

Ms Crouch is said to have been left "really upset" by the decision in this week's Budget to impose a six-month delay on plans to slash the maximum stakes punters can bet on the machines from £100 to £2.

The cap - designed to curb problem gambling - will now not see the light of day until October 2019, with the Treasury said to be concerned about a £1.15bn drop in gaming duties.

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Ms Crouch's boss, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, is meanwhile said to have raised concerns that the clampdown could damage bookmakers, while Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey is also understood to have argued against cutting the stakes.

The Telegraph reports that Ms Crouch, who had been pushing for the change, refused to rule out resigning over the issue when she was contacted on a trip to the United States.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told the paper he was "deeply concerned" at the Government's decision to kick the ban into the long grass.

"The gambling industry have fought it tooth and nail and succeeded in securing a delay," he said.

"Families will be in a terrible plight if this is allowed to stay for the next six months. Tracey is really upset about it, she worked really hard to get it done."

A Downing Street spokesperson insisted the Government would not backtrack on the six-month delay, saying the "decision has been made".

They said the pause was designed to strike a "balance between making sure that we protect those who work in the industry and also make sure that we bring in this really important change”.