UK Chancellor faces Commons rebellion over FOBT stake cut delay

UK Chancellor faces Commons rebellion over FOBT stake cut delay

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Posted by News Team
UK

Members of Parliament from all political parties in the House of Commons have signed an amendment to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s 2019 Finance Bill in a bid to bring forward a cut in maximum stakes for betting terminals.

The amendment, which looks to have the cut in maximum fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes introduced in April, rather than October 2019 has attracted widespread cross-party support.

It has been signed by more than 100 MPs from the Conservative, Labour, Democratic Unionist, Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Party, including a number of prominent pro-Brexit MPs such as Boris Johnson and Ian Duncan Smith.

The Finance Bill does not actually include the cut in maximum stakes from £100 to £2, meaning the MPs cannot force an amendment to the 2019 budget itself, it does set out an increase in remote gaming duty from October 2019.

In order to push forward the stake cut, the MPs have signed an amendment to replace “1 October 2019” as the start date for the increase in remote gaming duty with “the prescribed date”.

This, is then followed by a clause that states that “the prescribed date” may only be set once changes have been made to define B2 gaming machines as having “a maximum charge for use of no more than £2 with effect from a date no later than April 1st 2019”.

This would effectively force the government to push forward the increase in remote gaming duty to 21%, as it is designed to offset a reduction in tax revenue resulting from the FOBT stake cut.

The increasingly fraught battle has already seen Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch resign in protest at the perceived delay.As a result Hammond is facing a humiliating climb-down, having refused to consider bringing the implementation date forward. Should the MPs prevail, it would mark the first time a government’s budget bill had been defeated since 1978.

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