Budget 2014: Chancellor under fire over raised duty on fixed-odds betting terminals
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 19 March 2014
The Chancellor came under instant fire for raising duty on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals.
Anti-gambling pressure groups have blamed the high-prize machines for the proliferation of betting shops on High Streets in poor areas of Britain, saying the ease of using them encourages the desperate to wager money they can ill afford.
Today, George Osborne said he would raise the duty from FOBTs from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.
Labour has called for local authorities to be given new powers to restrict the growth of the machines but was defeated in a parliamentary vote earlier this year.
Read more: The Independent's Budget coverage in full
The machines provide a large chunk of the profits of High Street bookmakers as people can technically wager £100 every 20 seconds.
There are more than 33,000 fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK.
Tottenham MP David Lammy tweeted: "Rather than deal with FOBT's and proliferation of Betting Shops High Street Osborne says he wants to make more money from them."
Elsewhere on so-called "sin taxes", duty on beer came down by 1p a pint while cider and spirits were frozen - partly to assist flood-hit apple growers in Somerset
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