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Bingo Industry

Volume 511: debated on Tuesday 8 June 2010

We keep all taxes under review. It would not be appropriate to discuss taxation in relation to bingo before the Budget in a couple of weeks, but we are keen to have a dialogue with the industry.

Does the Minister agree that sometimes it is possible to increase revenue by reducing taxes?

I think that my hon. Friend is probably referring to the well-known Laffer curve. I am sure that he is aware, too, that the tax on bingo participation clubs was reduced in the last Budget from 22% to 20%. As I said, I look forward to talking to the industry over the coming months.

Is it not the case that bingo is taxed more severely than other more dangerous forms of gambling, and that the Government would do well if they at least brought them into line?

I know that that argument has been made by the industry, and I am aware of its campaign on fair taxation. We want fair taxation. One of the Government’s key priorities is tackling the budget deficit, and ultimately the best way for us to support not just bingo clubs but other companies in Britain employing staff is to get the economy back on its feet, creating jobs so that people have money in their pocket to spend, including in bingo clubs.