I have long campaigned against the proliferation of betting shops in my own constituency and across London.
Hackney has 69 bookies, more than three times the average across London. There are 9 in Mare Street alone and even the Old Town Hall has been turned into a betting shop.
I do not have any moral objection to betting. Rather my concern is that these shops put little back into the community and can take advantage of areas with high levels of unemployment and poverty. They can also cause increased levels of crime including begging, drug crimes and burglaries.
I have tabled several EDMs on the topic, which have gained support from other London MPs and have written to ministers asking that local authorities be given more powers to turn down applications made by betting shops, if they believe there are too many in their area.
Currently, there is little councils can do to prevent an application being passed and I believe this needs to change.