High Streets First is campaigning for a change in the law to give local communities a say over the number of betting shops in their area.

High Streets FirstAt the moment betting shops are classified the same as banks, job centres and estate agents, which means that local councils don’t have any meaningful power to object to bookies opening up as many branches as they like.

Recently “Queen of High Streets” Mary Portas called for councils to be given new powers to limit bookies as part of her independent review for the government. The communities minister Eric Pickles is supposed to provide a response by May. We want to encourage him to say yes!

"We believe that local people should have the power to decide what their high streets look like."

We do not believe that all gambling is wrong – in fact done responsibly it can be great – but we do believe that in some places people have good reason to be unhappy with the number of betting shops on their high streets.

In some of the poorest areas, betting shops are now more common than post offices, book shops and green grocers. They can be magnets for anti-social behaviour and problem gambling. Communities should be allowed to limit them if they think the costs outweigh the benefits.

We are a cross party campaign that welcomes support from all sides. David Lammy MP, the LGA, Cllr David Parsons, Harriet Harman MP, Liberal Conspiracy, Political Scrapbook, LabourList and local councillors all support reform.

The campaign was set up by Labour councillor Rowenna Davis in partnership with the gambling addiction charity GRASP Group. We welcome anyone who wants to join us.

Visit the High Streets First website

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