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Saturday, February 25, 2017
Manchester: faith communities united in opposition to Super Casino
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¬†* Just before this update the House of Lords rejected the decision to build the UK's first super-casino in Manchester. This means the plans will not be implemented, even though MPs backed the proposal by a majority of 24. The Lords vote also means that plans for 16 smaller casinos around the UK will have to be shelved. Peers rejected the Gambling Order backing Manchester by 123 votes to 120, while MPs supported it by 274 to 250. The Faith Network for Manchester (FN4M), which represents people from all faith communities, had earlier opposed plans to site the Super-Casino in their city. At a meeting held last week to discuss the issue, representatives from all faiths were vociferous in expressing their shock and horror at the prospect of their city becoming home to the UK's largest casino. They said in a statement: "Whilst we are wholly supportive of positive initiatives for regeneration, we believe the proposals for the super-casino will be counter-productive. East Manchester is already coping with serious issues of deprivation. There is a real concern that local people already struggling to cope financially would be drawn to the casino, leading to increased levels of indebtedness, broken relationships, addiction, job losses and even home repossessions. "The presence of the Super-Casino in East Manchester is also likely to lead to increased levels of crime, traffic congestion and prostitution in an area that already faces more than its share of problems. "Although it is claimed that the casino will create 2,700 new jobs, on closer inspection of the Council's own bid document, 500 of these will be short-time construction jobs, 900 will be 'so-called' multiplier jobs which it is impossible to verify, and only 1,300 directly at the Casino. 2/3 of all new jobs will be 'entry level' requiring no skills, and likely to be paid at or near the National Minimum Wage. "Manchester City Council's bid made reference to having consulted the Greater Manchester Faith leaders regarding the socially responsible gambling proposals ≠ but failed to make any reference to the Faith Leaders' opposition to the bid itself. In so doing, we feel that the faith communities' views on the bid have been effectively misrepresented. "More broadly, only one local residents group wrote to the Casino Advisory Panel in support of the casino. Others claim not to have been consulted. Indeed, we have seen no evidence that Manchester City Council made any attempt to consult the wider community on the proposal, which their own bid document describes as an 'ideal test bed' for the Super Casino. We reject the idea of using Manchester residents as the 'test bed' in a huge social experiment, which all agree will have negative social impacts on significant numbers of people. We all want regeneration but surely there are better, more sustainable and more imaginative ways than this." "The FN4M is resolved to appeal against the decision to locate the Super Casino in Manchester. We urge the Government to listen to the views and, indeed, needs of the ordinary people of Manchester. When the matter comes before Parliament, we encourage all MPs and Peers to revoke the decision to build the proposed Super-Casino in Manchester."
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