Charities minister resigns over fixed-odds betting row

Tracey Crouch had overseen the civil society brief since June last year

Tracey Crouch
Tracey Crouch

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, has resigned amid a row over fixed-odds betting terminals. 

Downing Street this evening confirmed that Crouch, who had been charities minister since June last year, had stood down.

In the Budget earlier this week, the government announced a six-month delay to the implementation of changes, led by Crouch, that would reducefrom £100 to £2 the amount people could bet on fixed-odds betting terminal machines.

Crouch this evening tweeted a copy of her resignation letter:

In the letter, Crouch says £1.6bn would be lost by people gambling on FOBTs between the announcement to reduce the maximum stake and its implementation in October next year. 

She says she had been proud to work on projects including the government's Civil Society Strategy, which was launched in August. 

"I have had the privilege of meeting many charities, volunteers and social enterprises working collectively to support and enhance civil society," the letter says. 

Crouch, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford, had been sports minister since 2015 and had the civil society brief added to her portfolio in June 2017. She was given additional responsibility for loneliness in January this year

In her reply, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said she was disappointed to receive Crouch's resignation letter but insisted there had been no delay in the introduction of changes to FOBTs. 

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said Crouch had been a passionate and inspiring minister.

"Her strong leadership in creating a cross-government Civil Society Strategy demonstrated a real commitment to supporting the work of charities across the country," he said.

"She made a point of always trying to work in partnership with charities and in doing so gained a great deal of good will.

"She leaves a strong legacy and we will play our role in ensuring momentum continues in implementing the important strategy she put in place."

Dan Corry, chief executive of the charitable think tank NPC, said it was sad to see Crouch go.

"In her time in the post we saw the publication of the Civil Society Strategy, which, though we felt it could have been stronger, was the first government statement in this area for many years," he said.

He noted that Crouch’s role combined the charities brief with the portfolios for sport and loneliness. "We hope that her successor will be able to focus more fully on civil society so that it gets the attention it deserves," he said.

Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society, also expressed his sadness at Crouch's departure:

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