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It will be a criminal offence to permit a child to enter a casino or the gambling area of a regional casino?
Does that mean that children will be able to enter regional casinos, and will merely be restricted from entering the gaming floor or other gambling areas?
Tessa Jowell: What I said was straightforward. Although the planning is some way off, we expect that the regional casino will be part of a much bigger complex and development. It will not be possible for children to use the same entrance to go to a swimming pool or library as people use to go into the casino. Such separation is part of the way that we give effect to the regime to separate children and gambling.
Mr. Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab): Like the hon. Member for North-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Moss), I followed the progress of the Gambling Bill closely, having been a member of the Standing Committee. I welcome the announcement today of 17 new casinos, but does my right hon. Friend agree that we are back where we started? We had permitted areas, which limited casinos. Under the proposals we now have 17 permitted areas, and legislation that many people supported because it was to have a liberalising effect on the gaming industry has become extremely restrictive, and would certainly have the former hon. Member for West Ham spinning in his grave.
Yes, bless him. My hon. Friend makes a good point, but a balance must be struck. Either we allow the market to drive the number of new casinos on the basis of demand, or as these are new forms of gambling, we proceed cautiously, because our overriding objective is public protection linked to
securing the benefits of regeneration. They are not as restrictive as the old permitted areas, but my hon. Friend is right to say that casino development beyond these areas will not be allowed.
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove) (Con): The Secretary of States announcement today will be deeply disappointing to many people across the country. The choice of Manchester heralds the arrival of doorstep gambling across the UKs towns and cities tomorrow, with many people encouraged to gamble more than they can afford or their families can afford. Does the right hon. Lady not recognise, even at this late stage, the superior claim of places such as Blackpool as a resort destination casino, which would be an added boost to tourism? If she cannot do that, can she recognise the deep social change that her plans are unveiling today, and offer Labour Members a free vote when the measure comes before the House?
Tessa Jowell: On the last point, the answer is no. On the point about deep social change, that social change is going on anyway. Every single television and mobile phone, as well as the internet, offers opportunities for gambling which were not available even five years ago. The Government are committed to public protection through legislation that protects the vulnerable, but we recognise that millions of people want to gamble as a legitimate leisure pursuit and should be allowed to do so. That is why we have presented the proposals. It is slightly disingenuous of the hon. Lady to talk about the result being deeply disappointing and then to condemn the Government for exposing the public to risk. We are certainly not doing that.
Graham Stringer (Manchester, Blackley) (Lab): The advisory panel suggests that the gold standard for achievement as regards the award of the casino is regeneration. I agree with that. This part of east Manchester suffered as much as, if not more than any other part of the country during the recessions of the early 70s and 80s. The city council, working in partnership with this Government and previous Governments and using the Commonwealth games as a launch pad, has regenerated much of the area. I hope that the Government will not consider that the award of the casino means that the job is done. There is still much to be done in east Manchester, and I hope that the Government will continue to support investment there.
Tessa Jowell: My hon. Friend will know how much hosting the Commonwealth games contributed to the regeneration of Manchestera point that the advisory panel makes clearly. This is a stage in the regeneration of his city, and I know that he and those of our right hon. and hon. Friends who represent Manchester constituencies will continue their successful campaign.
Mr. John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD): I am sure that the Secretary of State will concede that there is support for and opposition to super-casinos. In that light, will she give her support to a local referendum in Manchester so that local people get the final say on whether we have a super-casino in one of the most deprived parts of the city?
Tessa Jowell: I suggest that the hon. Gentleman reads the report and studies the way in which Manchester consulted local people, as did other bidding cities. If he also took the trouble to read the legislation, he would realise that local authorities have an obligation to ensure that the proposals, in their various forms, are supported by local communities.
Dr. Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes, South-West) (Lab): In assessing the successful bid from Milton Keynes, the advisory panel pointed out that it is not a city that can be described as suffering from social deprivation overall, although there are some pockets of deprivation. In its bid, the city council did not specify a precise site for the casino. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the site that is chosen maximises the benefits to the most deprived part of Milton Keynes in Bletchley in my constituency?
Tessa Jowell: Again, I recognise my hon. Friends efforts on behalf of her constituency. The precise location will be a decision for the local authority, not for the Secretary of State, but I am sure that my hon. Friend will make her arguments as forcefully as ever.
Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West) (Con): I welcome the recommendation of Manchester because it will bring benefit to the city. However, I impress on the Secretary of State that this must be a proper pilot for the possible granting of casino licences in future. Will she assure the House that the progress of the casino in Manchester will be monitored very closely from the point of view of its effect on the local community?
Tessa Jowell: I have given many right hon. and hon. Members precisely those assurances, which are fundamental to the Governments approach.
Mr. Jim Devine (Livingston) (Lab): Many people in Scotland, not only in Dumfries and Galloway, will be disappointed by the report. That applies particularly to the city of Glasgow. Will the cities that have failed be given a full explanation as to why that was; and will my right hon. Friend confirm that there is no right of appeal?
Tessa Jowell: There is no right of appeal, since the panel is not a statutory panel in the formal sense of the word. I am sure that my hon. Friend will welcome the recommendation in relation to Dumfries and Galloway and that he and his constituents will want to study the report carefully, particularly what it says about Glasgow.
Mr. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) (Con): Scarborough already has one brand new casino. A local familythe Shaw familyhas shown tremendous confidence in the town by investing £7 million in the Opera House casino, which opened last year. Will the Secretary of State reassure me that it will be eligible to apply for the new licence?
Tessa Jowell: Again, that is a matter for the local authority. However, it is expected that some existing casinos will apply for licences for the new casinos.
Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): As we all know, gambling addiction is on the increase and gambling attacks those who can least afford to pay. There is nothing romantic about casinosthey are not like Casino Royale. They are simply factories that suck in vulnerable people to lose their money. Will the Secretary of State explain how her announcement will add to the sum of human happiness?
Tessa Jowell: Regardless of the hon. Gentlemans depressed view of human nature, people with optimistic and positive views of their lives gamble in their millions in this country. That is up to them. They can utilise all the new opportunities that are available. The Government intervene to ensure that crime does not infiltrate gambling, that especially those who are very poor do not suffer through addiction and that the industry continues to be conducted fairly. We also want to ensure that the development of casinos allows opportunities for social and economic regeneration.
Mr. Ben Wallace (Lancaster and Wyre) (Con): Many of my constituents who live and work in Blackpool will be bitterly disappointed that Blackpool has not received the super-casino. The decision sends the wrong message that regeneration in the north starts and stops in Manchester.
Given that the Secretary of State gave an assurance before she had read the report that she would follow the advisory panels recommendation, and in the light of some of the contradictory points in ithon. Members of all parties have brought those outwill she agree to meet me and other hon. Members who represent the Fylde coast to discuss Blackpool and whether anything can be done to ensure that it has a second chance of a super-casino before she brings the order back to the House?
Tessa Jowell: I am always prepared to meet hon. Members from all parties on constituency matters. That invitation extends to todays announcement as much as to any other matter for which my Department has responsibility.
Mr. Brian H. Donohoe (Central Ayrshire) (Lab): I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 24, to discuss a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the shutting down of the Ayrshire plants of Simclar in my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Ms Clark) and, as important, the decimation of the electronics industry in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to raise the issue today. Closing the two plants in north Ayrshire has been a body blow to the local areas employment. We can be sure that it will immediately cost some 500 jobs, and some commentators have estimated that the real effect will raise that figure to 1,000 or even more. That is the equivalent of the loss of 4,000 jobs in Glasgow.
The subject is far from being a local issue. I feel duty bound to point out that it is simply the latest in a line of crushing announcements about the Scottish electronics and manufacturing industry. In recent weeks, the closure of a company in Dundee was announced. Closures have also been announced in places as diverse as Edinburgh, South and Inverclyde. It is a tragedy for such events to happen in silicon glen. The unemployment that that will create is surely important nationally. However, the paramount issue is that common causes are at work.
Scotlandsand, indeed, the United Kingdomsability to remain competitive in the global market is surely a salient issue that needs to be addressed. The jobs that are to be axed immediately by the company will reputedly be transferred to a location in south America. This latest catastrophe should be the signal not only for action in Ayrshire but for a full debate on the prospects for similar businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom. It is our duty to review the environment that we provide for this crucial sector of business, and to act accordingly or face similar repetitions until there is little left.
As a result of this closure in my constituency, some 420 skilled men and women will be looking for work, with limited options at their disposal and little hope of finding employment in a similar or even related field anywhere in the United Kingdom. Many questions surrounding the closure of Simclar need to be answered, and I believe that the House should have the opportunity to question Ministers on this subject at the earliest possible time.
Mr. Speaker: I have listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider the matter that he has raised appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24. I cannot therefore submit the application to the House.
Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Today, under Standing Order No. 151, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments drew the special attention of the House to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006. It took the unusual step of reporting the instrument for defective drafting in no fewer than five areas. A convention of the House is that debates on statutory instruments that are prayed against are not held until after the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has considered the regulation. However, the Government held a debate on this instrument prior to that consideration, thereby denying hon. Members full information before deciding on this important legislation. I know that you strongly protect the rights of hon. Members from unfair practices by the Executive. Are you satisfied with the Governments action in this matter?
Mr. Speaker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. However, the timing of debates in this House or in Committees upstairs is not a matter for me.
Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is apparent that the House has been treated with something approaching contempt by the Executive in this matter. At the moment, there are no regulations on this issue, either published or before the House. Decisions are being issued in the media, and indications are being given that no exceptions could possibly be made, despite the fact that, under section 81 of the Equality Act 2006, there is no limit to the amount of exceptions that could be made in the circumstances. Furthermore, there was no mention of adoption agencies in the Bill, and nor were there any Divisions on amendments. Nor has the matter been thoroughly discussed in the way that is required. I suggest that the way in which this matter is being conducted is bringing the House into disrepute, and I would be grateful for your opinion.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman has not raised a point of order. I can only repeat what I said to the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone), namely, that the timing and content of debates is not a matter for me.
Mr. Clive Betts (Sheffield, Attercliffe) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I served on the Committee that considered the Northern Ireland orders that have just been referred to. I wonder whether you could give some guidance to Opposition Members about raising points of order as though they had a particular interest in the matter in question. In that Standing Committee, apart from the Front-Bench spokesmen, not one single Conservative Member turned up
Mr. Speaker: Order. It looks as though I am going to be dragged into an argument, and that is not what I want. The best thing that I can do is to call the 10-minute Bill.
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): I beg to move,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make requirements about the monitoring of measures to address the effects of climate change; and for connected purposes.
I have been waging a campaign on this issue in the House for about a year, in order to get our society and our Government to address much more effectively, efficiently and comprehensively the effects of climate change. Those effects include coastal erosion, higher sea levels and waves, coastal flooding from the sea, flash floods, inland flooding from heavy winter rain, increasing numbers of homes at risk of flooding, more rats, diseases such as malaria, skin cancer and heatstroke, disruption to wildlife, new predators, crop failures and drought.
Adapting to the effects of climate change should include measures such as: improving sea defences; raising riverbanks; building bigger storm sewers, especially in urban areas; pest control of, for example, rats; NHS training to diagnose and treat tropical diseases with which this country has not hitherto been familiar; public education to avoid heatstroke and over-exposure to the sun; green corridors for wildlife, which will often move north; lessening markedly the leaks from water pipes; new reservoirs; and new rules on planning.
We have known about greenhouse gases and their consequent climate change effects for several decades. Even nowadays, almost all the debate about climate change, both within Parliament and outside, is about addressing the causesemissions. The Government have done well domestically and shown real leadership internationally in relation to the causes of climate change, but limiting global emissions is not within the control of any UK Government. Conversely, limiting the effects of climate change in the UK is wholly within the control of the UK Government. Public debate and action, however, has centred on one half of the problem, the causes, which is not within our national control, while it has almost wholly neglected the other half of the problem, the effects, which is within our national control.
The Government have belatedly started to address the effects of climate change, and I salute the work of the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. However, much more needs to be done, much more quickly. The effects of climate change are already upon us and will only get worse: we need only look outside. Dealing with the effects of climate change will require significant resources. As the Stern report showed us, however, a stitch in time will save nine.
Dealing with the effects of climate change will also require cross-departmental co-operation and efforts in many Departments. The Bill, if passed, would simply require annual monitoring and reports to Parliament, so that we can all see what steps have been taken across government, and what steps have not been taken, to address the almost unspoken half of the climate change equationeffects.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Rob Marris.
Rob Marris accordingly presented a Bill to make requirements about the monitoring of measures to address the effects of climate change; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time, and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 23 March; and to be printed [Bill 54].
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