SLASHING tax rates for bingo halls is the key to the door for Paddy Cronin.
George Osborne announced plans to cut the rate paid by bingo halls in Wednesday’s budget.
And Paddy, managing director of Wearside printing company Edward Thompson, is predicting it will mean a jackpot for city businesses.
“We are absolutely chuffed,” he said.
Thompson’s produces bingo materials from cards to dabbers and also provides a service to outfit and refurbish premises.
Paddy believes the industry has been unfairly penalised, despite having the best record in the sector on addressing problems with gambling and the vital role of bingo clubs in many communities.
“For years we have been paying five per cent more tax than the bookies, now we are paying five per cent less,” he said.
He believes the cut will be worth up to £80million for the industry as a whole.
“Now clubs are going to be able to keep 10 per cent more – that is a lot of money,” said Paddy. “They will not be coining it in but it will make them a lot more viable.
“In the last four or five years, the big companies have survived reasonably well – it has been the independents that have been hardest hit.”
Paddy believes cutting the tax rate paid by the industry will mean businesses are able to splash out and hopes the industry’s windfall will be good news for Thompson’s and its sub-contractors, many of which are based in Sunderland.
“Businesses will have more money available to invest and I hope it means our refurbishment department will do well,” he said.
It could also mean the resurrection of plans for a new bingo hall next to Asda at Leechmere.
Thompson’s was given outline planning permission for the scheme a year ago. The firm planned to build the new hall, then sell it on to one of its clients, but the scheme has been on hold.
“We had a customer lined up, but it is a matter of picking the right time,” said Paddy.