Review of Gambling Act

The Gambling Act in its current form is outdated and in need of a major overhaul. I hope that the forthcoming review is not watered down to placate the gambling lobby or fails to properly address gambling-related harm.

There is a long list of changes that are required to make the act fit for the digital world that we live in today, and it’s clear that online gambling must be effectively regulated to protect the public.

The review must be wide-ranging not just in rhetoric, but in action. 

I urge the Secretary of State to use this review to address the growing gambling threats facing children and it must work hard to tackle them being viewed as future gamblers. The UK government should look to explore steps to remove aspects of games that normalise gambling and end advertisements.

Meanwhile, funding for research, support and education should not come directly from the industry. The UK government must step up to the challenge.

Big changes are desperately needed, and anything less will be a dereliction of duty to protect people across the UK from the impact of gambling-related harm – which has pushed many into hardship and debt.

Greenock Telegraph 4th December 2020

I have struggled these last few weeks and it’s been hard to put my finger on what the problem was. I knew it was almost certainly due to limited social mobility during the pandemic but exactly what and how to resolve it wasn’t clear. We are all, or should be, mixing far less within our communities but measuring the effect of that is difficult, it is by its very essence, intangible.

While contemplating my own conflict I had the opportunity to attend an outdoor community event where everybody was respectful of the guidelines. And what a difference it made. The Friends of the Coves community are quietly and considerately breathing new life into the Coves Reservoir Nature Reserve. The next addition will be the James Watt Wander. Designed by local school pupil Laura Stewart, it will be developed close to the Mallard Crescent side of the reserve. I have high hopes for what can be achieved in terms of reforestation and wilding within Inverclyde but that’s for another day. I found that just being part of a local event, listening to the plans and witnessing the enthusiasm, reminded me how much I have missed all the local community driven events that made up so much of my diary prior to the pandemic.

When things ‘return to normal’ it won’t be the grandiose corridors or leather clad benches of Westminster that I am most grateful for, it will be the opportunity to meet up with the many precious local community groups that are the heartbeat of Inverclyde. From our much-underappreciated community councils to the many musical, environmental, mental health, sport and youth groups. Not forgetting my visits to our over stretched social housing providers and it has been far too long since I raided the tuck shop at the Jobcentre and met with staff there. When all is said and done, while big decisions are made at a national level it will be the local community that pulls us through and the local networks that are there for us when this is all over. It may be December, but I feel the spirit of spring is in the air already. Thank you. 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) third grant: Applications now open

We wanted to remind your constituents that applications are now open for the third SEISS grant to support self-employed people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The rules on who is eligible to claim are different to those for the previous SEISS grants. However, a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019 showing self-employment income (unless one of the existing exceptions applies) will still need to have been submitted in order to claim.  

The third grant will be based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single taxable instalment capped at £7,500, and will cover the period from 1 November to 29 January 2021. Self-employed people who are eligible will be able to claim the third grant at any time from 30 November 2020 to 29 January 2021.  

As previously, the third grant will also be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must be reported on 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax returns, due by 31 January 2022.

What your constituents should do to get ready

  • Check whether they are eligible to claim, as the eligibility rules are different to the previous SEISS grants.
  • Be aware that, like SEISS 1 and 2, tax agents cannot claim this grant on behalf of their clients; they must do so themselves. If an agent tries to make a claim on a client’s behalf, it will trigger a fraud alert that will delay the payment. Applying online is quick and easy.

Who is eligible 

To make a claim for the third grant, your constituents must meet a number of conditions, and make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their trading profits will be significantly reduced due to coronavirus. 

To make a claim for the third grant, your constituents must – as previously: 

  • be self-employed or a member of a partnership. They cannot claim the grant if they trade through a limited company or a trust 
  • have traded in both the tax years 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.

For this third SEISS grant, your constituents must also now: 

  • either be currently trading but are impacted by reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or have been previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus  
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade, or restart trading, and that they reasonably believe that the impact on their business will cause a significant reduction in their trading profits
  • only claim if the reduction in profits is caused by reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or inability to trade due to coronavirus. Reduction in profits due to increased costs (such as having to buy masks) does not make a business eligible for the third SEISS grant.  

When deciding whether the reduction is significant, your constituents will need to consider their wider business circumstances.  

We expect your constituents to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their trading profits will be significantly reduced compared to what they would otherwise expect to achieve during this period. HMRC cannot make this decision for them because their individual and wider business circumstances will need to be considered when deciding whether the reduction is significant.

Your constituent’s business must have been impacted on or after 1 November 2020. Your constituents must keep evidence that shows how their business has been impacted by coronavirus, resulting in reduced activity, capacity or demand, or a temporary inability to trade.

More information and further support

More information and examples to help you check eligibility to claim are available on GOV.UK.

We’re contacting all self-employed people in the UK that may be eligible to let them know about the third grant.  

Your constituents can register for one of our free live webinars to help them learn more about the SEISS Grant Extension. The next webinar is on Tuesday 1 December. For details of other business support available go to Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus.

A fourth grant will also be available from February 2021 to April 2021. We’ll tell you more about that nearer the time, including how much it will be and the rules for claiming.