01 Feb 2005 Pre-2014 Releases

At its monthly meeting yesterday, the BHB Board reaffirmed its view that it had taken the appropriate decision in December 2004 to suspend the Owners’ Premium Scheme from the start of 2005, given the necessity to take immediate steps to reduce expenditure in the light of the ECJ Judgement.

BHB has, over recent weeks, participated in an open dialogue with the Levy Board Executive in order to ensure a co-ordinated approach to expenditure plans. The Levy Board has requested that BHB outline its own spending priorities for 2005 and 2006, which will contribute to the Levy Board’s planning process in advance of its annual strategy meeting in March.

At yesterday’s meeting, the BHB Board decided that the Levy Board should be requested to provide £700,000 in funding to enable the Owners’ Premium Scheme to operate on a reduced scale in 2005, with the inclusion of backdated payments from 1st January.

It was also agreed to make a request for Levy Board funding for the Scheme on a similarly reduced basis in 2006, while reiterating its own commitment to reinstating the Scheme in full in 2006 should BHB’s own financial circumstances permit.

The Board was of the view, with the full support of the ROA and TBA, that, with other spending priorities, it was inappropriate to expect the Levy Board to fund the Scheme at its originally planned level of 25% premiums and, in certain cases, 50% – expected to cost £3.2m in 2005 – but that it would be desirable for smaller premiums of 5% and, for National Hunt fillies and mares, 10% to continue to be paid.

BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said:

“In BHB’s current financial circumstances it continues to be the correct, albeit very regrettable, decision that the Scheme was suspended. However we have always said that Owners’ Premiums are important to British Racing and that we would be willing to look at ways in which the Scheme could continue to be run with alternative funding sources.

“We look forward to further discussions with the Levy Board about a number of areas of possible expenditure in 2005 and 2006, of which a reduced-scale Owners’ Premium Scheme will be one. The maintenance of Racing’s infrastructure in these difficult times remains a key policy objective.”