Tracey Crouch resigns as charities minister

Charities minister Tracey Crouch has resigned from her role due to a delay in changes to betting rules.

The minister for sport, civil society and loneliness, who is responsible for wide range of cultural issues including charities, said it is with "great sadness" to have resigned from "one of the best jobs in government".

"Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever," she wrote on Twitter.

The resignation follows reports of Crouch's 'fury' after the government made an announcement in the Budget to delay plans to cut the maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals from £100 down to £2.

Gambling has caused controversy among government figures, particularly fixed odd betting terminals, which have been likened to “crack cocaine” gambling machines.

The government recently agreed to slash stakes on the machines amid concerns that the high stakes are causing ‘harm’ to families and fuelling crime.

However, in the Budget earlier this week, the Treasury announced it would be delaying any plans to reduce the stakes until October 2019.

Crouch, along with former Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, reportedly pushed hard for this policy, which was designed to reduce the negative impact excessive gambling can have on society.

But current Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, who was appointed to the post earlier this year, allegedly expressed less enthusiasm about the policy due to concerns that cutting the stakes too soon could be damaging to the sector.

The delay in the rules is intended to provide bookmakers and the gambling industry with time to adjust to the change, but it has sparked a significant row among cabinet members.

Labour MP, Carolyn Harris, who also chairs an all-party parliamentary group on the betting terminals, said the delay was "immoral and exploitative", but Crouch's boss, Wright, said: "I think she's doing a great job...but in the end this is a decision that has to be taken by the Government collectively".

"A passionate and inspiring minister"

Crouch was appointed to the role of Sports and Civil Society Minister in 2017 following the general election. Since then, she was also appointed to the new post of Minister for Loneliness.

Just this year, Crouch launched the Civil Society Strategy, which presented the government’s vision for its relationship with charities and social enterprises on a wide range of societal issues.

Spokespeople from across the sector have spoken out about Crouch's resignation, expressing their sadness at the potential loss of an "excellent" charities minister.

The Scouts chief executive, Matt Hyde said Crouch was a "terrific minister" and "totally committed" to the value of civil society.

"I am so sorry to hear Tracey Crouch has resigned. She was a terrific minister and totally committed to the value of civil society. Now is the opportunity to split out the huge portfolio she had and (re)create a dedicated ministerial post for civil society," he said.

NCVO chief Sir Stuart Etherington said Crouch has been a "passionate and inspiring minister for civil society".

"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.

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