It is great news that the Government has amended its Budget on a matter that costs the Government very little and will protect many hundreds of people who have been using the fixed odds betting terminals and spending thousands of pounds. Of course the big risk is that the change which was scheduled for next October and has now been brought forward to next April will simply encourage people who want to gamble larger sums than £2 at a time will go onto online betting sites but these are risks that were fully understood when the idea of reducing the maximum from £100 to £2 was first proposed. The fact that the Government has amended its budget in order to protect the Budget as a whole from a large number of MPs willing to introduce an amendment is an indication that no budget is set in concrete and all of them are capable of being amended. So in the light of this let us consider two possible other changes that could be introduced and which MPs on all sides of the House of Commons should support. Unfortunately both of them will cost the Government a sum of money but they are always willing to spend money when there is a good case for doing so.
The first suggestion is that the Government increases the sum of money put up for Schools and adds a zero to the amount proposed. Rather than £400m the schools would benefit from £4bn. The second matter is that a sum of money is set aside to extend funding for police forces. Again a sum in the order of several Billion would make a big difference to our nation at a time when the capacity of police forces is severely restricted because of the funding restrictions applied by the Government and by Police and Crime Commissioners like Katy Bourne in Sussex who for several years froze the Police precept because as faithful Tory PCCs they felt that the ‘advice’ from Eric Pickles was worth following.
It seems clear that both of these changes to the budget would rapidly improve society and give us a budget that would be of value to our nation in a way that the current budget proposals are not.