Offshore Gambling and the Horseracing Levy
13th July 2011
Speaking in a debate on offshore gambling and its relationship with horse racing, George Freeman highlights the economic importance of the sport and impact of falling income on employment and the wider rural economy.
He stressed the importance for Horseracing to look after it’s grassroots, the local trainers and owners, point to point and National Hunt racing which are the backbone of the sport.
George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s leadership on this issue, and I would like to align my comments with those of my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Claire Perry). This sport is often referred to as the sport of kings—its more glamorous side is often the side seen by the public—but is it not also a vital part of the wider rural economy? As with so many other industries, its grass roots are essential to its continuation, and in fact the effect on prize money at the bottom is even more severe. Prizes are falling and small trainers and owners are struggling to maintain the industry.
Matthew Hancock: My hon. Friend makes an important contribution. Prize money is critical to the sport and its future, but it has fallen by almost a half in just the last two years. Also, betting duty—the tax that the Exchequer takes—has fallen from £420 million to £340 million, so it, too, is on the decline. I am a low-tax Tory, but I do not think that we were talking about that.