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Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Gambling
Tuesday 26th April 2022

Asked by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help ensure that gambling companies pay back any money incorrectly allocated by his covid-19 furlough policies.

Answered by Lucy Frazer - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was available to any employer providing they met the eligibility criteria.

HMRC designed the schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, so they blocked those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

However, the Government and HMRC always knew they could be attractive to fraudulent behaviour and are taking tough action to tackle this. Anyone who keeps grant money, despite knowing they were not entitled to it, faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest and potential criminal prosecution.

Where claimants have made a genuine error, HMRC are supportive and reasonable in their approach to recovering overclaimed grants. Claimants are afforded the opportunity to put things right, without fear of sanctions.

All compliance activity is risk based and HMRC do not focus on particular sectors.


Written Question
Gambling: Education
Friday 14th January 2022

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to require schools to provide education on the harms of gambling.

Answered by Robin Walker - Minister of State (Education)

We have made relationships education compulsory for all primary schools, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary school pupils and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. Health education includes teaching pupils about the risks associated with gambling and the statutory guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

The subjects will support all young people in terms of managing risk and making informed decisions, as well as in key aspects such as mental wellbeing and online behaviour. For example, under the topic of internet safety and harms, the guidance sets out that young people should be taught about the risks related to online gambling, including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them and how to be a discerning consumer of information online.

To support schools to deliver this content, the department has produced teacher training modules. The module on internet safety and harms includes teaching pupils about the risks associated with gambling. A link to the training modules is available on GOV.UK and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Many schools choose to draw on the work of subject associations when selecting resources to deliver these topics. The PSHE Association worked with GambleAware to develop free resources to improve delivery of school-based preventative gambling education.

Other curriculum subjects, such as citizenship, mathematics and computing can also address online gambling and its dangers. This includes developing young people’s financial literacy and highlighting the dangers of online gambling whilst using digital platforms, such as gambling opportunities introduced within computer games and apps.


Written Question
Gambling: Coronavirus
Tuesday 30th November 2021

Asked by: Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any changes in the (1) volume, and (2) patterns, of gambling activity resulting from the COVID-19 restrictions since March 2020.

Answered by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay - Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Public Health England (PHE)’s evidence review on gambling-related harms estimated the annual cost of harmful gambling to society to be between £841 million and £2.2 billion, or approximately £1.27 billion. Further research is needed to determine costs attributable directly to gambling-related harm rather than those associated with people who are problem or at-risk gamblers.

PHE also conducted a rapid review on the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour and associated harms. The review found consistent evidence that overall gambling participation reduced during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period (March to June 2020), and limited evidence to show any new patterns of harms associated with gambling during COVID-19 restrictions.

The Gambling Commission’s official statistics for the year to March 2021 show that the overall participation in gambling declined over the wider period of COVID-19 lockdowns, largely due to the closure of land-based gambling venues for much of the past year. The proportion of respondents participating in any gambling in the past four weeks fell from 47% in the year to March 2020 to 40% in the year to March 2021. Online gambling participation increased to 24% (up 3 percentage points), whilst in person participation decreased 12 percentage points to 23%. However, the increase in online gambling was largely linked to National Lottery play; excluding National Lottery draws, overall participation online increased marginally from 16.5% to 16.9%.


Written Question
Bingo
Tuesday 15th June 2021

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a bespoke financial support package for bingo clubs.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be very challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities.

Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts now that they are open.


Written Question
Bingo
Tuesday 15th June 2021

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to introduce additional financial support for bingo clubs in England.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be very challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities.

Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts now that they are open.


Written Question
Gambling: Coronavirus
Monday 7th June 2021

Asked by: Lord Bishop of St Albans (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the study by Alan M Emond et al Gambling by young adults in the UK during COVID-19 lockdown, published on 18 April, what assessment they have made of the reported correlation between higher rates of gambling and COVID-19 lockdowns.

Answered by Baroness Barran - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Overall participation in gambling has declined over the period of COVID-19 lockdowns in Great Britain, largely due to the closure of land-based gambling for much of the past year. The Gambling Commission’s latest official statistics show the proportion of respondents participating in any gambling in the past four weeks fell from 46.7% in the year to March 2020 to 40.0% in the year to March 2021. As in the study by Professor Emond et al., the Commission data indicates a small increase in online gambling participation. The government continues to monitor the situation and consider the evidence carefully.


Written Question
Bingo: Coronavirus
Friday 21st May 2021

Asked by: Margaret Ferrier (Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the reasons for the closure of 39 bingo clubs across the UK during the outbreak of covid-19.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.


Written Question
Bingo
Friday 21st May 2021

Asked by: Margaret Ferrier (Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will allocate sector-specific funding to bingo clubs.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.


Written Question

Question Link

Monday 17th May 2021

Asked by: Kate Osborne (Labour - Jarrow)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he plans to provide to bingo clubs for their reopening on 17 May 2021 to help those clubs deal with the financial pressure they have faced during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the Bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, we have introduced an enhanced package of support, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which have been required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also includes extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.


Written Question
Bingo: Culture Recovery Fund
Thursday 25th March 2021

Asked by: Alex Norris (Labour (Co-op) - Nottingham North)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of potential merits of extending eligibility to bingo clubs for access to the Culture Recovery Fund.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by DCMS Arm’s Length Bodies - Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the British Film Institute. These bodies can spend Government money on individuals or organisations within the sector they are responsible for.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the Bingo sector. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.