Bishop of St Albans Responds to Public Health England Review on Gambling-Related Harm
The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has spoken about the need to address the UK’s continuing regional health inequalities and level up via reform, following the publication of Public Health England’s gambling-related harms evidence review.
He said: “The fact that those from the North East and North West of England are significantly more at risk of problem gambling compared to the South shows that levelling up is about more than simply pumping money into left-behind regions but about reforming those sectors like gambling that disproportionately affect deprived communities.
“The Government has not been blind to these regional inequalities which is why it established the three Northern Gambling Service clinics in Manchester, Leeds and Sunderland in 2019.
“Despite the amazing jobs these clinics do, the lack of industry regulation is constantly working against them.
“According to Public Health England, gambling harm is directly costing the Government £647.2 million a year.
“At a time when the NHS is under serious pressure, why is the public purse picking up the bill for the consequences of problem gambling whilst allowing operators to run off with eye-watering profits?
“Reforming the gambling sector would reduce the burden on the taxpayer and allow money to be re-directed to fixing those regional health inequalities by better funding treatment, research and education.”