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Horse Racing

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to enable the Government to meet their manifesto commitment to end their financial involvement in horse racing. (80844)

The Government's 2005 manifesto commitment with regards to horse racing stated,

“Having passed the necessary legislation the Government remains committed to completing the sale of the Tote to a Racing Trust”.

My Department is pursuing a closed sale of the Tote to a consortium of racing interests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consultation (a) has taken place and (b) is planned on the extension of the horse racing levy beyond 2009; and with whom. (80845)

No decision has been taken to extend of the Horserace Betting Levy beyond 2009, although the matter is under consideration by my Department following the publication of the phase two report of the Future Funding of Racing Review Group, Chaired by Lord Donoughue of Ashton.

In order to inform this consideration the Review Group subsequently produced a further report (a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses) aimed at identifying improvements that could be made to the Levy Board's operation. The group received submissions from:

Arena Leisure Plc

Ascot Racecourse

The Association of British Bookmakers

The British Horseracing Board

Gala Coral Group Plc

GG Media Ltd.

Industry Committee (Horseracing) Ltd.

The Jockey Club

Ladbrokes Plc

The National Association of Bookmakers

The National Trainers Federation

Northern Racing Ltd.

The Racecourse Association

The Racehorse Owners’ Association

The Rails Bookmakers’ Association

Satellite Information Services Ltd.

Timothy Hale (in support of the RCA)

Watson Bookmakers Ltd.

Weatherbys Ltd.

William Hill Plc

Should the Government decide to extend the levy beyond 2009 further consultation will be carried out.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her statement of 18 March 2005, Official Report, column 29WS, on funding of horse racing, what progress has been made in working with football leagues to develop solutions to the funding difficulties arising from a judgment by the European Court of Justice. (80846)

I have met with representatives of the premier league, football leagues, Scottish football leagues on a number of occasions to discuss the impact of the European Court of Justice’s ruling on database rights.

I understand that a deal is now under negotiation between Football Dataco, which licenses football fixture data, and British bookmakers which I am optimistic will provide guaranteed funding for the football leagues in the short to medium term.