Savill calls for abolition of levy system

Peter Savill, the chairman of the British Horseracing Board, has called for an end to the levy system within two years following the agreement on Friday of a £61million payment from bookmakers for the 2000-01 financial year.

Peter Savill, the chairman of the British Horseracing Board, has called for an end to the levy system within two years following the agreement on Friday of a £61million payment from bookmakers for the 2000-01 financial year.

The deal between bookmakers and the Horserace Betting Levy Board was agreed without the matter being referred for settlement to the Home Office and represents a 15% increase on the current expected annual levy yield to racing of £53million.

Savill, whose Financial Plan calls on bookmakers to pay racing an extra £80million out of turnover, claimed that the agreement was below the Levy Board's own assessment of what betting should pay racing.

He said: "The BHB has agreed unanimously to call on government to replace the levy with a more commercial mechanism within the next two years. Not only is the structure of the levy system unfair but its implementation clearly also leaves much to be desired."

Savill added that he would be seeking an urgent meeting with Mike O'Brien, the Home Office minister responsible for gambling.

"We have no wish to subject ourselves each year to this charade and its funeral is unlikely to be well attended," he said.

"We must continue to encourage government to remove itself from our industry as quickly as possible so that we can free ourselves from the shackles of the levy."

Savill attacked the Levy Board over the £61million settlement which he said had been reached without the direct involvement of racing.

He challenged the Levy Board to explain why it did not refer the matter to the Home Office for settlement when bookmakers had offered less than what the Levy Board agreed to be a fair amount.

Savill was supported by other members of the BHB, who like him also sit on the Levy Board.

Angus Crichton-Miller, also chairman of the Racecourse Association, said that the £61million deal was as a result of "grubby horse trading between a few people" and that the settlement "terminally discredited the levy system".

David Oldrey, who sits on the Levy Board on behalf of racing, added that the negotiations were a "singularly depressing run over the same course" and that bookmaker profits, clearly indicating the betting industry's ability to pay more than £61 million, "were well documented".

Tristram Ricketts, chief executive of the BHB said: "This is a further nail in the levy's coffin. We would like to see an end to the levy system in the shortest possible time and it is to that we will be directing our efforts."

Levy Board chairman Robert Hughes refused to accept Savill's criticism.

"It is about time the British Horseracing Board faced up to the real world," he said.

"The £61million forecast yield for next year's levy is the highest settlement figure ever achieved and sets a benchmark for the future.

"It represents a 15% increase over this year's expected £53million. At a time when inflation is running at around 2%, the settlement is a successful outcome for racing by any commercial standard.

"The levy process is not designed to deliver the quantum leap (another £72million) to racing's income from betting to which the BHB aspires. But it has provided a machinery for reconciling two positions that are a long way apart.

"Those who call for the Levy to be abolished need to consider how £61million a year for racing can be replaced by commercial means."

Warwick Bartlett, chairman of the Bookmakers Committee of the Levy Board called on the BHB to join them in the campaign to reduce betting duty as a way of boosting the levy.

Bartlett said: "If half the energy which the BHB puts into complaining about the levy agreement were spent on persuading the government of the justice of the case for a reduction in duty we would be in sight of the winning post.

"In particular can we have an end to the personal nature of recent statements by some prominent figures in racing.

"These are damaging the image of the industry and make future co-operation very difficult."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor