Debates between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran during the 2019 Parliament

Gambling Reform

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 29th June 2021

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and declare my interest as a vice-chair of Peers for Gambling Reform.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we are carefully considering the report by NERA Economic Consulting, along with the large amount of evidence we have received in connection with our review. There are clearly difficulties in making precise predictions, but we welcome this analysis. We aim to publish a White Paper by the end of the year, setting out our conclusions and the next steps for the gambling review.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

[Inaudible]—the IPPR estimates for the cost of problem gambling are between £270 million and £1.17 billion per annum, but there is evidence to suggest these are underestimates. Extrapolating problem gambling costs from studies in other jurisdictions suggests it could be as much as £6.5 billion—far beyond the £3 billion in annual tax contributions provided by the gambling industry. Will the Government commit to researching the costs of problem gambling, so we can determine whether the contributions from the gambling industry are offset by the damage caused by it?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I apologise; we slightly missed the beginning of the right reverend Prelate’s comments, in the Chamber. If I have missed anything, I will write to him, but I think I got the essence of his question. We are of course looking at the economic costs. I do not recognise the £6.5 billion figure that the right reverend Prelate cites, but he is aware that one of the complexities of looking at this is the comorbidity between gambling and other forms of harm, which we need to take into consideration.

Events Research Programme

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 23rd June 2021

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I cannot judge other people’s opinion on this, but we have certainly been transparent, as the noble Baroness sets out clearly, in what is possible and achievable in these trials. We have been very clear that the purpose of these pilots is to release the data when it has been fully analysed, which I hope will be very shortly, so that organisations working in the live events area can plan and reopen as quickly and safely as possible.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the Church of England has adopted a clear policy on encouraging people to be vaccinated. However, at the same time, like many organisations, we cater for a variety of people, some with strongly held ethical convictions and objections to the vaccine, covering issues from animal testing to the use of aborted foetal cells. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to uphold freedom of religion and belief and offer an alternative to vaccine certification for religious events?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As I am sure the right reverend Prelate is aware, the Government are very concerned about, and keen to uphold, freedom of religion and expression. I will take back the specific question on religious events and write to him.

Gambling: Early Mortality

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans
- Hansard - -

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the research by Dr Naomi Muggleton linking gambling and early mortality, published in Nature Human Behaviour on 4 February, what plans they have to transfer responsibility for gambling policy to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, responsibility for gambling is shared across departments. DCMS leads on industry regulation, which is key to harm prevention. DHSC leads on gambling as a health issue and on treatment, and we work closely together. We are pleased to see more research being done and we are considering the findings carefully. Dr Muggleton’s research shows a correlation between higher gambling spend and lower well-being but does not look at causes.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans
- Hansard - -

I thank the Minister for her response. As the recent research suggests, gambling-related harm and problem gambling produce a negative result across a whole variety of indicators, including health. Despite this, the Government continue to hold on to the idea that the industry is a net contributor to the Treasury, without taking into account the huge other costs being incurred. Will the Government consider undertaking a comprehensive study of the direct and associated costs, such as health, incarcerations, homelessness and social welfare, all caused by gambling harm, which materially affect the Treasury’s receipts?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right reverend Prelate raises important points. He will be aware that Public Health England is doing research at the moment, looking at how to reduce gambling harms and how to recoup the costs to society, which I hope will go some way to reassuring him.

Gambling

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Thursday 7th January 2021

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans
- Hansard - -

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost to taxpayers of problem gambling.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Public Health England has undertaken a review of evidence on the public health harms relating to gambling and their social and economic burden. Publication has been delayed by Covid but is expected in the first part of this year. We have also launched our review of the Gambling Act. We are calling for evidence on how best to reduce harms and how we will recoup the cost to society.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

When the Minister announced the gambling review, he mentioned the tax receipts provided by the industry, but there was absolutely no reference to the social costs, particularly those associated with health services. We know only that, as part of the Government’s NHS mental health plan, £6 million has been committed to gambling-related harm by 2023. How much do the NHS problem gambling clinics cost the NHS, including the 14 new clinics due to be opened by 2023-24? If the Minister is unable to give these figures, would she write to me?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To take the right reverend Prelate’s first point, I know he will acknowledge that it is very difficult to tease out the specific costs related to gambling harm, particularly on health and mental health. I will endeavour to dig out the updated figures from the mental health implementation plan for the 14 clinics, but I also note that this investment is in addition to the investment being made by GambleAware in specialist clinics in London and in the Northern Gambling Service.

Gambling and Lotteries

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Monday 14th December 2020

(10 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right that there is no way to put a financial price on the pain that some families have suffered. We have a responsibility to listen to those families, take their evidence incredibly seriously and give them a real voice. We are absolutely committed to doing that. As I mentioned in your Lordships’ House last week, the first meeting that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State had in preparing for this review was with a group of people with lived experience of gambling harm of different types. So we take that incredibly seriously.

Progress is being made on advertising gambling in relation to sport. The industry has introduced measures in the last 18 months, including the whistle-to-whistle ban, which has significantly reduced children’s exposure to sports betting advertising. We are taking, and will take, a very thorough look at this review and try to establish—and I mentioned areas that were contested—to what extent advertising is linked to problem and harmful gambling.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, it is true that we cannot cost the human hurt and pain, but the Statement praised the tax receipts and employment benefits that come from the gambling industry but did not mention any of the financial costs of gambling-related harms. Will the Minister assure the House that, as part of the evidence-based approach, the review will include research into the cost of gambling-related harms—for example, for the 14 clinics dealing with gambling addictions, the cost of trials and imprisonment, the cost of JSA claims and the terrible cost of suicides—to ascertain whether the gambling industry is really a net contributor to the Treasury, as the Government claim?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right reverend Prelate raises an important point. He will be aware that, next year, Public Health England will report on its evidence review into gambling-related harm. That will look at both financial and human aspects. The review being led by DCMS is looking specifically at ways of recouping the societal costs of gambling. Again, I urge the right reverend Prelate to share the evidence that he has on those costs in the broadest terms.

Gambling Legislation

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 9th December 2020

(10 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord raises an important point: that the voices of those who have been harmed by gambling should be heard. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State’s first meeting on this issue was with a group of experts with lived experience of gambling harm. I encourage the noble Lord to submit evidence to this review.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I am disappointed that significant parts of this statement read as if they were written by the gambling industry. They pointedly ignore the facts with which we began the Select Committee report: there are nearly 400,000 problem gamblers, plus 60,000 teenage gamblers, materially affecting the lives of 2 million people. Just last night, I spent an hour with yet another family who had lost their 25 year-old son to gambling. As most of the recommendations in the Select Committee report do not require legislation, why will Her Majesty’s Government not implement them now to save lives? Why will they not make this a public health issue?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am genuinely surprised and disappointed that the right reverend Prelate reads the response in that light, because we felt that the report of the committee on which he sat was extremely helpful and constructive, and it has informed much of our thinking. There is no way that we are waiting for the outcome of the review to make gambling safer, and we have announced significant progress in the last 12 months, in particular the ban on gambling with credit cards.

Gambling Legislation

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Thursday 10th September 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the noble Lord and his colleagues on that committee for its excellent report, which we are considering. The noble Lord is right to point out that online gambling has a much higher risk of harm than land-based gambling, but I do not agree that we are being slow off the mark to move on this. Operators are already required to monitor the way that their customers play and to take action. As I mentioned, we have already banned the use of credit cards for gambling, and we have been monitoring very closely during Covid-19 and beyond the trends in online gambling.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans (V)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, with the significant increase in gambling harms during lockdown, are Her Majesty’s Government satisfied that the Gambling Commission has adequate resources to do its work? Is the Minister content with the commission reducing its staffing to make savings at the very point when it needs to take additional action to regulate online gambling?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the right reverend Prelate for his questions. Actually, there were fewer people using online slots and casinos in June than in March, so there are some counterintuitive trends in the gambling market. With regard to the Gambling Commission and its powers and resources, we are considering proposals for an uplift in the fees that it collects from industry. In relation to recent stories about redundancies at the commission, it is always reviewing ways to become more agile and responsive.

Covid-19: Orchestras and Cultural Venues

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 1st July 2020

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend for his contribution as part of the task force. We are acutely aware that, as government support unwinds, the situation becomes much more difficult for both regional and other theatres and venues. As the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, mentioned, we have seen some closures already. The Government will not be in a position to save every venue, but we are regularly listening to the sector, actively talking to the Treasury and considering how best we can respond to the long-term challenges that the sector faces.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, it is not just the performance venues that are suffering but many churches and halls rented out for rehearsal space. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of research undertaken into singing and playing woodwind and brass instruments, to see how these activities might be safely undertaken while minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Our understanding is that, as I am sure the right reverend Prelate is aware, there is a risk of increased transmission involved in singing and the use of wind instruments. That is why non-professional choirs and orchestras will not resume for the time being, although professional orchestras can start rehearsing from 4 July on a socially distanced basis. As the right reverend Prelate mentioned, we have commissioned scientific studies, which are being carried out by SAGE, to try to build a really robust evidence base. That advice will be used to inform future policy and guidelines.

Gambling Commission: Problem Gambling

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Thursday 5th March 2020

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend for her question. On the risk of problem gambling, all operators will have to join GAMSTOP, the one-stop online self-exclusion scheme that will come into effect at the end of this month. As she will be aware, the Government announced the banning of credit card gambling, which is extremely important because less than 1% of the population are problem gamblers but 22% of credit card gamblers were found to be so. I look forward to talking to my noble friend more about what else we can do in relation to the financial services industry.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans
- Hansard - -

My Lords, at a time when the NHS is facing such unbelievable pressures from the coronavirus, it is also having to set up 14 gambling clinics across the country to try to deal with this situation. The industry has a gross gambling yield of £14 billion a year. Is it not time to bring in a statutory levy, so that the polluter pays for the damage being caused?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the right reverend Prelate for his suggestion. There are currently no plans to introduce a statutory levy. As he will be aware, the gambling companies make a major contribution of about £3 billion in tax. The concerns around a statutory levy would be the same for gambling as for tobacco or alcohol, which also carry huge health risks, so there are no current plans to proceed with that.

Football Association and Bet365

Debate between Lord Bishop of St Albans and Baroness Barran
Thursday 9th January 2020

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend had an even more interesting career at the Home Office than I imagined. We have announced that there will be a review of the Gambling Act. My honourable friend the Minister for Sport said this morning that nothing was off the table in terms of that review, and we also announced in the manifesto that we would address the issue of using credit cards to gamble. So the Government have heard this loud and clear and are keen to act.

Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait The Lord Bishop of St Albans
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the huge rise in what many campaigners are calling the gamblification of sport is happening rapidly before our eyes. The Gambling Commission itself has identified 55,000 teenagers in this country suffering from gambling-related harm and 430,000 adults. Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, has pointed out that it is costing a hard-pressed NHS up to £1.2 billion a year. Just yesterday, a new gambling clinic opened in Sunderland funded by the NHS. Will this review, which we are grateful that Her Majesty’s Government have promised, include the issue of the gamblification of sport and look at things such as logos on shirts and wraparound adverts around pitches—all of which are excluded at the moment, which make a mockery of the whistle-to-whistle ban that we were promised?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can only repeat that nothing is off the table in the review of the Act, so I would assume that exactly those issues of the gamblification—if that is a word—of sport and the examples the right reverend Prelate gives will be addressed. To be clear, the issues that came up over the weekend do not apply to under-18s—but, even so, I take his point.