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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee