Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Local Government Association
Thank you for your letter of 25 June in which you pose a number of additional questions following the oral evidence session earlier in the day.
Before addressing the individual points I would like to emphasise that time has not permitted me to discuss the issues with Members of the Association's delegation. This response is therefore based on the knowledge (and assumptions) of the Association's officials.
The Association has not considered the detailed issues because it has been concentrating on the proposals for transferring Alcohol and Entertainment licensing to local authorities, which are likely to be introduced in the next Parliamentary session. However, we anticipate that there will be similarities in the administrative system in view of the fact that the DCMS will be sponsoring both draft Bills. Taking each of your issues in order I would respond as follows:
(1) The Association strongly believes in fees being set locallyto reflect the actual costs of administrationbecause our experience of nationally fixed fees (viz cinemas) is that the costs of administration do not match the fee received. There may be a case for indicating a minimum/maximum fee range but this has not been considered by the Association's Executive.
(2) Given the expectation that additional resources will be secured by local authorities to deal with liquor licensing we do not consider that significant further resources will be needed to deal with gambling machine licences with the possible exception of the major cities and inner London authorities.
(3) The Association does not support a blanket ban, preferring the applications for Casino Licences to be dealt with individually on their merits. The fact that the local authority is also the Planning Authority will be an advantage.
(4) The possibility of competitive bids has not been considered by the Association.
(5) The Association has not considered the potential impact of resort casinos on local businesses.
(6) The NHS and local social services will need to provide support for problem gamblers. Also the Adult Education and Youth Services will need to provide information/training courses to support the affected families. We have not calculated the likely costs.
(7) The Education (schools), Social Services, Adult Education, Libraries and Youth Services together with the Community Safety Partnerships will all play a part in encouraging responsible gambling through a range of information, training and publicity policies and practices.
(8) The only alternative would seem to be by additional funding through the SSA mechanism from Government (which would not be the Association's preferred option). There could be an additional levy on the business rate which could be retained by the Local Authority for the express purpose of providing support services, but this has not been considered by the Association.
(9) The Association believes that a statutory levy on the industry would be preferable to a voluntary one.
1 July 2002