BHB Chairman Peter Savill, responding to the Secretary of Stat?_x0019_s announcement today about the 41st Levy Scheme, said:
“I am delighted that the Secretary of State has accepted Racing’s case for a substantial increase in the Levy, granting Racing by far the largest ever increase in projected Levy income. The yield from next year’s Scheme should, on DCMS figures, exceed that offered by the Bookmakers’ Committee last October, and without the wholly unacceptable strings which the Committee attached to that offer. Revenue of upwards of £90m, which I am pleased will continue to be derived from total horseracing business, goes some way towards meeting the needs of a chronically under-funded industry.
“I was also pleased that the Minister for Sport explicitly confirmed at the BBOA Seminar that the levy is not a commercial price for the Racing product and that today’s announcement sets no precedent for the commercial mechanism.
“The decision to change the basis of the Levy from turnover to gross profits runs contrary to the recommendations not only of BHB but also of the Government-appointed members of the Levy Board. As we said in response to speculation last week, the decision is not a great surprise given the recent change in the basis of betting tax but will have no impact on our commercial charges.
“With the Levy parameters clearly set we will continue to progress the introduction of a turnover based commercial mechanism from 1st May 2002. In so doing we will protect Racing’s right to set the price for its quality product, to deal with individual bookmakers and to charge for every use of our product and not just when the punter loses. I urge all bookmakers who did not take advantage of our concessionary offers to enter into licence agreements, so that they continue to have access to the pictures and data required by their customers. No bookmakers with a licence will be required to pay twice, as the price will take account of levy payments for as long as the statutory system lasts.”