Clause 25 - Duty to advise Secretary of State

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:40 pm on 16th November 2004.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 5:40 pm, 16th November 2004

I shall be brief, Mr. Pike. Under clause 25, the new gambling commission would give the Secretary of State advice about

''(a) the incidence of gambling,

(b) the manner in which gambling is carried on,

(c) the effects of gambling, and

(d) the regulation of gambling'', but only

''(a) in response to a request from the Secretary of State, and

(b) on such other occasions as the Commission thinks appropriate.''

Amendment No. 131 would introduce a provision for the gambling commission definitely to report no less frequently than annually. In the light of the Government's huge U-turn today, the new proposals

about casinos and all the promises that the Minister has made about the fact that the commission will look carefully at the evidence to see how the casinos progress, it is vital that we have regular reporting on the four categories in clause 25(1). It should not be a case of leaving it to the Secretary of State or to the commission as and when they think it appropriate. We should have a regular report specified in the Bill, so that we know that it will happen at least once a year, if not more often.

I was surprised not to see an annual reporting requirement in the Bill as drafted, and I hope that the Minister will reconsider the matter with his officials. I will not deal with amendment No. 152; I will leave that to my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cambridgeshire. However, I have put my name to it, and I agree with it.