Racing: Inquiry into stable lads' pay

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Peter Savill, the chairman of the British Horseracing Board, admitted yesterday that moves had to be made quickly to deal with the problem of staffing and low pay in the industry.

The BHB "should probably have got more centrally involved than it has most recently done", said Savill, announcing the establishment of an independent commission into the recruitment, training and development of stable and stud staff. The commission will be under the chairmanship of the former government minister Lord Donoughue.

The National Trainers Federation and Stable Lads' Association will act as consultants to the commission. "We are all agreed that there is a problem and that we want to address it. After all, they [stable staff] are the industry," Savill said.

Lord Donoughue said that the Burnham Report, completed by an industry working party three years ago, would provide a very useful starting point.

The report found that many stable staff were dissatisfied with pay and conditions. It recommended immediate negotiations to improve salary and working hours, as well as consideration of a "blank day" for racing.