BGC urges extension of business rates relief to help unlock the economy

The Betting and Gaming Council has urged the UK Treasury to extend business rates relief in a bid to help unlock the British economy as it emerges from the latest lockdown.

The industry standards body, which had previously called for a level playing field in the region’s gradual exit from COVID restrictions, has made the plea to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next week’s budget.

The group says that the betting and gaming sector, which supports over 100,000 jobs, contributes £4.5bn in taxes and generates £7.7bn for the economy, is eager to play its part in the recovery.

However, with the industry, and much of the wider economy, still in a fragile state, the BGC adds that the government must continue to support businesses through this next phase.

Furthermore, the BGC has also made a call for the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland to provide similar support.

Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, explained: “By any measure, the betting and gaming industry is an important contributor to Britain’s economy. 

“It is our hope that the forthcoming budget will be a springboard to recovery as the country begins to emerge from the COVID-19, unlocking the potential of our high street businesses to return to growth and job creation.”

Alongside its latest please, the BGC has also reiterated its call that the government should adhere to its timetable for easing restrictions, data permitting.

This would see betting shops reopen in line with other non essential retail on April 12, and an end to the 10pm curfew on the night-time economy once casinos and other hospitality venues can resume action on May 17.

Dugher added: “With premises shut for much of the past year, this would help protect jobs and remove a major financial pressure on businesses that have suffered a significant loss of income during the pandemic.”