Ipswich/Felixstowe: Bingo players must be given comfort in budget as MP campaigns for lower tax on clubs
Bingo players in Ipswich and Felixstowe “must be given comfort” from the House of Commons in next week’s budget that tax on the popular game will be reduced, Treasury ministers were told in parliament.
Bingo players and business owners are lobbying the government to reduce tax paid by clubs to 15% – like many other forms of gambling.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who is spearheading a petition at Felixstowe Palace Bingo, said in a question session to Chancellor George Osborne: “A few weeks ago I joined my parliamentary colleagues in presenting a boost bingo petition with over 300,000 signatures to the chancellor calling for a cut in bingo duty.
“Can he give comfort from this House to those who like to shout house that their concerns will be addressed in the forthcoming budget?”
Treasury minister David Gauke, said he was not able to say more than: “Let me take that as a further Budget submission,” in his response.
Neil Cox, a general manager at Palace Bingo, which also has sites in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and Elephant and Castle in London, said: “It is important this happens because it would allow bingo clubs to invest in new sites and ensure the existing clubs remain.
“New clubs would lead to investment in jobs.”
There are now 400 clubs in Britain and bingo duty stands at 20% – the rest of the gambling industry, the likes of casinos and betting shops, pay 15%.
Mr Cox also said that it was only fair that bingo – a “softer form of gambling” – was brought in line with other gambling businesses which only pay 15%.
“Bingo has higher taxes, yet it is a safer former of gambling,” he added.
Dr Coffey added: “By reducing the burden of tax on bingo clubs we can ensure they continue to thrive, create jobs and provide great entertainment for local people.”
There are still copies of the petition at Palace Bingo in Felixstowe or you can sign up online at www.theresecoffeymp.com