Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Objection to Betfred Planning Application (3) Children & vulnerable persons

Only 6 days to go. Objections to Betfred's Planning Application must be in by 2nd March (

Here is some more ammo for your objection. This time it's about Deprivation, Child Poverty and Vulnerable People...
Good information is hard to find and a lot of the following information isn't up-to-date, even though it's obvious to most of us that things have only got worse. If anyone can update and expand on the information below, please contact us.

Postscript: Since posting, Save the Children Fund have hit the news with some frightening statistics. As the Londonist reports: "the proposed changes to benefits and continued high rate of unemployment will tip more families into poverty". According to the statistics, 20% of Lewisham's kids are living in poverty. The Guardian has mapped the data.
The betting industry seems to keep targeting deprived and poor areas. Why? 

End Child Poverty reported in 2008 that Lewisham has one of the highest rates of child poverty in London and is the 11th most deprived borough out of the 32 boroughs in the capital. 

• Particular issues that Lewisham faces include high levels of unemployment, disadvantage in income, health and crime, low levels of educational attainment and a poor natural environment
(The State of the Borough, An Economic Social and Environmental Profile, 2007, The local futures group)

55% of Lewisham’s children are from low income families, and 35% of adults in those families are out of work.  Source: HM Revenue and Customs (2006: please update). Provided by the Child Poverty Toolkit

The problem affecting local children living in poverty because of gambling addiction:  
- when their father or mother spends uncontrollably,
- spends significant amounts of time not at home, conceals or lies about their gambling behaviour
- has no interest in spending time with them
- doesn't attend parent evenings or help with school work
- cannot keep a job, cannot pay the bills and cannot feed them.

• The site at 93-95 is extremely close to Tidemill Primary School. Even when the school moves to its new site, it will still be extremely close. Older children from Addey & Stanhope and St Joseph's also use the high street at lunch time and at the end of the school day around 3.30-4pm. Greggs the bakers at no. 91 (next door to the proposed premises) is a particular favourite for these kids. It is also a favourite with everyone, old and young, including mums with toddlers.

• The staff at Greggs have been told by their Head Office to ignore the shop lifting drug addicts who occasionally barge in to steal a sandwich. This is possibly to avoid the disruption caused by calling the police, so that the store may continue to run happily and productively without interruption.  Staff at Greggs were horrified to hear there is likely to be another betting office right next door, when there is already a problematic betting shop right opposite.

• Operators like to think they are successfully operating a "Think 21" policy. But last year, a gambling commission investigation uncovered that 98% of bookmakers allowed under-age gambling. It is estimated that 127,000 young people in the UK aged under 24 have a gambling addiction.

Gamcare reports that 2% of their calls in 2009/10 were from under 18s, with an increase of 22% from those aged 18-25. Most of the ‘under 18s’ who called the confidential helpline reported gambling in ‘arcades’ and ‘betting shops’.

• The rate of problem gambling is over three times higher in young people as it is in adults according to the Journal of Child Adolescent Substance Abuse, 8, 55-68 (or see page 7 of Gambling Addiction and its treatment within the NHS download here).

• If a young person under 18 or 21 is to understand that a betting premises, like a pub, is an establishment they are not permitted to enter,  it may be observed that with the clustering of betting establishments currently in the high street, an entire stretch of the road has become out of bounds to young people and children.

• It has been suggested that first generation migrants may not be sufficiently socially, culturally or even financially adapted to their new environment to protect them from the potential risks of excessive gambling. Many are therefore vulnerable to the development of problems. This highlights the need for healthcare professionals to be aware of specific groups — increasingly, women and new migrants, as well as young males and adolescents — who may present with gambling problems... BMA Board of Science

• The types of games played also impacted on the development of gambling problems, the BMA report found. Problem games have a high event frequency (fast and allow for continual staking), played mostly by single unemployed males under 30, followed by older males over 40 often of Chinese ethnicity, and adolescent males. BMA Board of Science

• One of the most recent and prominent beggars on Deptford High Street is now a young Chinese man (at least that is how he is perceived and is described by the Safer Neighbourhood Team) which goes against the findings of a 2010 report How Fair Is Britain (by the Equality and Human Rights Commission) in which young Chinese were perceived to be above black and other racial groups in educational achievement. He was such a nuisance that the SNT tried to get him on an ASBO but it didn't stick, he's out there begging right next to BetterBet.

• Shockingly, the same report said "While disabilities often mean lower income levels and life expectancy, the commission found that being black and male appears to have a greater impact on levels of numeracy than being learning disabled". Oddly enough, there are black males in bettting shops who must surely be numerate, just not very lucky.

Next topic: Gambling Addiction and Anti-social behaviour

Meanwhile see the Deptford Dame's post on objecting to Betfred.

1 comment:

  1. I was outside Paddy Power and a man came out and aggresively said to me,"Give me five pounds"and then rushed up the High St!We can expect more of this aggresive begging if Lewisham Planning give the go ahead to yet another betting shop.Fred Aylward