Sir Iain Duncan Smith welcomes the announcement of a comprehensive review of the Gambling Act and calls on the Government to consider replacing the Gambling Commission with a more powerful regulator.
I thank my hon. Friend for his statement, which marks the beginning of a real sea change in our attitude towards the gambling abuses that have taken place. On that point, I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris), whose chairing of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling related harm has been phenomenal, and to the vice chair, the hon. Member for Inverclyde (Ronnie Cowan). We have worked very hard together to try to drive this moment. I have to say to my hon. Friend the Minister that we want all the evidence we have taken over the last couple of years to be part of the inquiry. I would also like the all-party parliamentary group to appear in front of it.
May I press my hon. Friend on one particular point? He knows about the abuse of VIP schemes and about the behaviour of the gambling companies, which have been appalling in the way they have used people. Is it not now time, instead of looking only at the powers of the Gambling Commission, to get rid of the Gambling Commission altogether and institute a body as powerful as, say, Ofcom or all the other bodies that monitor and regulate these industries? Now is the time to make bold moves, to make sure we get proper control and that the abuses and the addiction end.
I thank my right hon. Friend for all his work in this important area, and the people he mentioned who have also campaigned for such a long time. We know that there have been problems with VIP schemes. We have acted on them already, but that does not mean that further action is not necessary. I am confident that the evidence-led review may reveal further options and avenues. I welcome his input into all areas under consideration. As I said, the Gambling Commission’s scope and resources are part of that review. I welcome his further comments.