§ 11.22 a.m.
§ Lord Crawshaw
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Crawshaw.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD ABERDARE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 [Payments on account of bookmakers' levy]:
Lord Peart moved Amendment No. 1:
Page 2, line 2, after ("Board") insert ("together with the two members of the Bookmakers' Committee appointed by the Secretary of State under section 24(2)(d) of the Act of 1963.").
§ The noble Lord said: Before speaking to Amendment No. 1, I should like to make a short statement. It came to my ears that the Opposition were said to be 822 seeking to frustrate this Bill by delaying it and therefore virtually causing havoc as regards aid to the racing industry and the board itself. I should like to say that that is certainly not our intention. The speeches which were made on that occasion were constructive and I spelt out the difference between us, which is really a question of the composition of the Levy Board. In other words, what I tried to suggest would therefore involve an amendment increasing the membership of the Levy Board by two: one being drawn from the Bookmakers' Committee and the second being the chairman of the Horserace Advisory Council.
§ I suggested also that Clause 1(5) of the Bill should be amended so that consideration of objections would rest upon the independent members of the Levy Board and two members drawn from the Bookmakers' Committee. If that were done, I believe that the Levy Board itself would be strengthened because the voices of those who are involved in the day-to-day business of racing would be heard, and I think that that is very important.
§ I know that many noble Lords who have racing interests here and who make a marvellous contribution to the industry and to the sport will appreciate that I in no way wish to frustrate this Bill. It will give help to the racing industry and it is in that spirit that I participate in the debate. If one reads the Marshalled List, one recognises that the amendments are all related. I do not know what the procedure will be, but, if the Chair will permit me, I think that it would be right and proper to discuss the amendments en bloc, rather than go through each one in turn. If that is so, I should like to make another statement.
§ I think that Amendment No. 4 is superfluous and, indeed, does not make sense. The words to be inserted at the end of the phrase are already to be added by Amendment No. 5. Unless I hear to the contrary, therefore, I shall not move it. I should like to leave the matter at that. I beg to move.
§ Lord Sandys
I think that it might be helpful at this stage to advise the Committee of the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to the amendments moved and spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Peart. I am very glad that the noble Lord saw fit to advise your Lordships as he did in such felicitous terms, both in his speech on Second Reading and in his prologue to the amendments a few moments ago.
During the Second Reading debate, the noble Lord suggested that this Bill, which deals with advance payments of levy, should be amended in three ways: there should be an increase in the Bookmakers' Committee's representation on the Horserace Betting Levy Board; the enlarged Bookmakers' Committee representation resulting from this amendment should be involved in the functions created by the Bill; and the chairman of the Horseracing Advisory Council should be given membership of the board in his own right, instead of, as at present, occupying one of the Jockey Club places, thereby restoring a member to the Jockey Club. The amendments now moved by the noble Lord are intended to achieve those ends.
Your Lordships will, I know, wish to reach a decision on the issues of principle involved. In the case of a Bill promoted by a Private Member, however, it is one of the functions of the Government spokesman 823 to draw attention to drafting defects. I have to advise the noble Lord, Lord Peart, that his amendments are still defective in certain respects. Basically, the point at issue is that if the Secretary of State is made to appoint the Bookmakers' Committee representatives, it becomes necessary to examine all the functions at present conferred on the three independent members he appoints so as to determine which, if any of them, should also be exercised by the two bookmakers, and to ensure that all the relevant provisions precisely achieve the desired result. For example, it would seem desirable to make it clear that bookmaker members were not intended to be brought into the role, under Section 26(2) of the 1963 Act, of arbitrating about the rate of their remuneration in the event of a dispute between the Bookmakers' Committee and the Levy Board. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Peart, will agree that that is the rather curious situation in which they might find themselves if, as suggested in the amendments, statutory provision were made for it.
Similar consequential amendments would be required to the Horserace Betting Levy Act 1969 and the Horserace Totalisator and Betting Levy Board Act 1972. The 1972 Act is particularly important, in that it provides for any functions of the Government-appointed members of the Levy Board to be exercised by any two such members, and these quorum provisions would need to be varied and related to the various functions.
As the noble Lord, Lord Peart, has suggested that we should consider this group of amendments together, perhaps I may continue in like vein and say that the amendment to Section 24(2)(d) of the 1963 Act, which provides for two members of the Bookmakers' Committee to be appointed to the Levy Board by the Secretary of State, would also need to be expanded to deal with the terms on which they hold and vacate office. A good deal of work would need to be done on this Bill if it were satisfactorily to achieve the objects of the noble Lord, Lord Peart.
I now turn to the issues of principle. One of the three main objects of the amendments is to give the Bookmakers' Committee's representatives on the board the duty, jointly with the independent members, of determining the amounts to be paid in accordance with the scheme for advance payments and of adjudicating on the claims for a reduction on grounds of hardship. The former is a factual exercise in which there is virtually no discretionary element and there seem to be no strong arguments either way as to involving the bookmakers' representatives.
The issue of substance—and I wish to emphasise this to my noble friends and to the Committee as a whole—is whether it is appropriate that the representatives of the Bookmakers' Committee should be involved with the independent members in considering applications under Clause 3 of the Bill for relief from advance payments. Noble Lords will remember that, of course, Clause 3 was added to the Bill in Committee in another place when it was discussed there.
In making an application for such relief a bookmaker would be bound to reveal details of his business affairs and the knowledge of those details would be disclosed to bookmakers' representatives who might well be his competitors and certainly could not be 824 said to be impartial, which might be enough to discourage any such application. The bookmakers ask for provision to be made for relief where bookmakers' circumstances have changed. Noble Lords will wish to consider whether the fact that it is an offence to disclose information given by a bookmaker for the purpose of the levy is sufficient to reassure a bookmaker in circumstances where the person to whom the information had to be given in the first place is a competitor. I think that that is a very important point.
The Levy Board has given a firm undertaking that it will consult the Bookmakers' Committee on all notices of determination and applications for relief that appear to them to be different or contentious. I hope that I shall not weary the Committee by going into a little further detail, but there are other matters of principle which go beyond these particular amendments.
First, the Horserace Betting Levy Bill is a Private Member's Bill, and we are indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Crawshaw, for introducing it into your Lordships' House. It has been well received in another place and on Second Reading in your Lordships' House, and it has been further underwritten today by the noble Lord, Lord Peart, in his opening statement. However, I must warn the Committee that any amendments at this stage—particularly when, as these are, they are technically defective—must seriously jeopardise the chances of the Bill reaching the statute book. I am sure that neither the noble Lord, Lord Peart, nor the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, nor their noble friends would wish the Bill to be lost.
Secondly, the Bill began as a measure to deal with advance payments only. These amendments touch on this, but they are also concerned much more substantially with the reconstitution of the Levy Board, and I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Peart, will recognise that. This, with all its consequences, is not a matter to be undertaken without the full consultation with all concerned. If there were general agreement that change is needed, this could be done in another Bill directed for that purpose. I think that I have probably said enough as regards the Government's interest, and I shall leave it at that for the time being.
§ Lord Wigg
I hope that the Committee will forgive me, but I am not 100 per cent. fit and I could not attend the Second Reading debate for that reason. However, I felt that I must come today because this is not a tiny Bill. This is a Bill of fundamental importance. It does not concern itself primarily with the membership of the Bookmakers' Committee; it goes much deeper than that.
I should like to remind your Lordships of a couple of general points. France now has a new Government under Monsieur Mitterand, and one of the things that he has done is to appoint a Minister of Leisure and Sport. This week Mr. Denis Healey has come out with a statement of his personal beliefs, and it is most encouraging that he, too, has made a statement about the importance of a leisure and sport policy at this time.
All the western democracies face the basic fact of unemployment. First, there is short-time working; then there is just a little loss of jobs; and then it becomes 825 a spate. This is not because of the wickedness or wisdom of different Governments; it is because of the advance of technology. What people do with their leisure time is of absolutely fundamental importance. If I may use a barrack-room aphorism:They can stand at street corners,They can spit and they shout,And they talk about things they know nothing about.If you do that, then Brixton is inevitable. On the other hand, constructive opportunities can be provided for people to participate or, if they will, to view by going to football matches, and so on. Again, hooliganism in football is not an accident. In this country there has been nothing to choose under either Government; there is no settled policy. The Home Office spokesman today has a bit of a job on because he had a pretty weak brief; I shall be kind to that and come to it later. The Government are concerned with only one thing. This is why Lord Butler, as Home Secretary, acted in 1960. They were faced with the fact that, if there is a growth of illegal betting, we shall get the Mafia and corruption of the police. That is what Lord Butler set out to prevent, on an agreed basis. He brought everyone into discussions, and much, if I may say so, was due to the wisdom of the late Lord Crathorne. We had the Peppiatt Committee.
Within the Department of the Environment there is a Minister for Sport. The present one is no better or no worse than the last one; neither had or has any power. There then is the Department of Employment, the Minister of which ought to be concerned because he is dealing with the effects of unemployment. Finally, there is the Treasury. I hope that all noble Lords who will vote and take decisions today will take the trouble to read the report of the Royal Commission on Gambling and read the evidence given by the Treasury, because the Chancellor has also become converted. Very recently he made a speech in answer to critics in another place, saying, "Look, we cannot increase taxation or the levy. If we do, we shall have the danger of increased illegal betting". If your Lordships would like the reference, they should read paragraphs 6.8, 6.59 and 25.13 which all say the same—that the combined level of taxation and levy has reached the limit. They use the word "dangerous"; that is not my word.
At this point, I should like to pay tribute to the work of the noble Lord, Lord Rothschild, and the Royal Commission. It is significant that the Minister did not mention it today, and in the debate on this Bill in the other place it was not mentioned. Yet no one who is concerned with this problem and with the problem of illegality can look at it without examining the Royal Commission's report.
I would remind my noble friends on this side of the Committee, who never seem to rejoice, of the fact that when we took office in 1964 the total amount of revenue raised was of the order of £34 million. Today it is over £500 million. When we did it in 1966, on the other side they laughed and said, "What impertinence to try to succeed where Mr. Winston Churchill failed!" We did. Do you know why? Not because we are clever, but because we do our homework. They did not do it. In 1963, with a stroke of the pen, the late Reginald Maudling put paid to fixed odds betting. One of the major causes of 826 football hooliganism arises from that. On that side they have consistently misread the signs.
Today we have this Bill because it is said that the bookmakers need to be taxed on the current year rather than on previous years. When I became chairman of the Levy Board I never wanted the job. Field-Marshal Lord Harding had retired and the job was offered to Viscount Head. When he found that there was no money, he packed it in. So I was drafted. What did I find? Six hundred and fourteen thousand pounds had been given to the Jockey Club at New-market to rebuild the Rowley Course. We had acquired the National Stud next door. I went down and what did I find?—the Jockey Club had taken all the choicest paddocks. What for? To breed horses? No. They were taken over to rear pheasants for the Jockey Club shoot. That is a fact. Now, we are told that this Bill covers £¾ million which bookmakers are to be paid by way of interest. What are the facts?
The Duke of Devonshire
If I may intervene, it is quite untrue to say that the Jockey Club acquired extra paddocks merely to breed pheasants. It is quite untrue to say that the Jockey Club acquired those extra paddocks to rear pheasants. It is true that there is a Jockey Club shoot. It is very modest, and the suggestion casts a slur on a very distinguished body of people.
§ Lord Wigg
The noble Duke does not come to your Lordships' House very often and at least he should listen. What I said was that I went down there and I found that the choicest paddocks had been given over to the breeding of pheasants. That is a fact, as I said publicly at the time. I will go further.
The Duke of Devonshire
I will take up the matter privately with the noble Lord, Lord Wigg. He will hear from me in due course.
§ Lord Wigg
I do not operate in that way. What I say publicly I publicly support and if the noble Duke wishes, I will do a bit more. The bookmakers get £¾ million by way of interest. What are the facts? The Levy Board ran into difficulties. It is short of cash. Why is it short of cash? It comes to the bookmakers as it did with the levy and asks for a scheme on a voluntary basis. In the case of the levy, a number anted-up but a number did not, and the ones who did ante up asked, "Why should the others get away with it?". So they supported the levy on the basis that it should help racing and that it should not be a subsidy. Noble Lords may read paragraph 19 of the Peppiatt Report.
Now let us turn to the report of the Royal Commission. What did that report say? Perhaps the noble Lords opposite do not know this but as a result of the present policies, under pressure from the Jockey Club and the Levy Board, today the racing industry is hopelessly addicted to subsidies. Those are the facts, and withdrawal would mean collapse. So the bookmakers have agreed to provide advance payments, and one-third of them ante up two-thirds of the total, nearly £10 million out of £15 million. Again, those bookmakers who pay, ask, "Why should we pay 827 when the others get away with it?" and that is why they support this Bill.
Now, this figure of £¾ million is regarded as something terrible. It is regarded as terrible that bookmakers should get interest, but what do the Levy Board do when they get the money? They pay 12 per cent. I have here a list of local authorities to whom they have advanced the money and drawn interest of 14 per cent. That does not harm racing, does it? On top of that, interest payable in respect of bookmakers is supposed to be terrible, but the Jockey Club had used its position. It has advanced loans in relation to Haydock Park interest-free over 22 years, which gives them £22 million. It has given loans to Cheltenham of £3½ million. The noble Duke, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, has interest-free money amounting to £70 million. So, if one has interest-free loans and a policy of giving prize money ad lib, then obviously one is going to run into cash-flow difficulties. That is what this Bill is about.
I cannot speak for much longer but tell your Lordships this: unless the policies on which this Bill is based are amended, the next Grand National is going to be the last. I will go further; there will be no Derby after 10 years. Those are the basic facts which must be faced. There are two ways of dealing with this matter. One can deal with it through the levy, and if your Lordships will read the debate which took place on the 14th December 1960, they will see that I stood by my policies and opposed my party. There is no party in this. Mr. Raison has said the same thing; that we are back on an agreed basis. If we do it this way the choice one has is either the levy or direct grant. The Treasury come down on the side of opposing a levy and plead for direct grants, approved—as they should be in a democracy—by the House of Commons. I am still in favour of the levy, but the money must be spent properly. My noble friend Lord Peart, whose statemanship and wisdom are an example to us all, has made the point that this is not simply an issue of Jockey Club power, although we have been told by a senior steward of the Jockey Club what the game is all about—power is the name of the game. I am not concerned about that. I struggled for 30 years to get the policy right. It was right, but it is not right now. It can only be put right by people doing their homework. The Jockey Club and the Levy Board have not done their homework, and I therefore support this amendment.
§ 11.46 a.m.
§ Lord Manton
Before commenting on the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Peart, I should like to make a brief reference to the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Wigg. He singled out two race-courses. I believe he mentioned Haydock Park and Goodwood, of which he was critical for having received interest-free loans. May I remind the noble Lord that the largest interest-free loan of all, for Sandown Park, was negotiated under his chairmanship.
I was delighted to hear the noble Lord, Lord Peart, say he hoped that his amendment would not damage the Bill. However, my noble friend Lord Sandys has pointed out the dangers that these amendments could mean for the Bill, by delaying it. The amendment 828 proposes two additional seats on the Levy Board; one of them for the bookmakers and the other for the Chairman of the Horse Racing Advisory Council. The Levy Board has been constituted for 20 years. It was established by statute and it seems to me perfectly reasonable that its constitution might well be reviewed. Any shortcomings in the original concept of an eight-member board should now be apparent, and indeed the circumstances which led to the original constitution may have now changed. Such a review should also encompass the board's Bookmakers Committee, which was also established by statute, to see that it reflects the present requirement of the bookmaking industry. However, this is a very delicate matter. It involves balancing many different interests within horse racing. Any proposals for change should be the subject of the widest possible debate and the fullest consultation within the horse racing industry before being enacted in the legislation.
There may well be merit in the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Peart, although I believe that the board as present constituted has done a very good job under very difficult circumstances. I would urge the House to allow this matter to be fully debated within horse racing circles before any change is made.
On the Second Reading, the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, suggested that the more wide-ranging gambling legislation which the Government intend to introduce later in this Parliament might be a more suitable place for changes of this nature to be contemplated, and I must say that I agree with him. The Bill before your Lordships has the simple objective of tightening up procedure for collecting the levy. This is very important to the finances of the horse racing industry and it would be a tragedy if procedural delays caused by amendments which have little or nothing to do with the original purposes of this Bill were to result in the Bill failing to reach the statute book. We are faced with a tight time-schedule, which reinforces my view that we should today reject the amendment before us although, as I have said, there well may be merit in reviewing the statutory board, whose original concept was first developed more than 20 years ago.
There are two small matters arising from Lord Peart's speech at Second Reading to which I should like to refer. In justifying these changes to the constitution of the Levy Board he criticised the board's policy on prize money and on interest-free loans to racecourses. First, the noble Lord, Lord Peart, criticised the amount spent by the board on prize money. We all know that it is easy to get emotive on this issue—"subsidising wealthy owners" is a cry that we sometimes hear—but I would remind the Committee that less than 50 per cent. of the prize money goes to the winning owner in the major races. The trainers, the jockeys, the stable staff, the apprentice training school and the weighing room staff all receive a share.
Furthermore, if one takes 1978 as the base year, the Levy Board's contribution to prize money in 1982—and this scheme is just in process of being published at this moment—would have to rise over 20 per cent. to maintain its real value. In the event, the increase for 1982 is likely to be around 12 per cent., so prize money is failing to keep pace with inflation. Flat racing, I would remind noble Lords, is international. 829 If, in comparison, the level at home falls too far below that of our major competitors, then our stars and several of their human counterparts, the jockeys, will race overseas, and the great spectacle of racing will suffer, as will our valuable breeding industry.
The noble Lord, Lord Peart, also criticised interest-free loans for racecourses as being expensive. Under previous chairmanships loans to racecourses were sometimes made as outright grants and the money did not come back. The present policy, with which I should like to associate myself and with which I thoroughly agree, is a policy of interest-free loans. On this basis the money is recycled. Most of those loans are made on a fairly short-term basis, maybe four or five years, so the money is recycled. One racecourse is improved, and four or five years later that money comes back into the pool and goes out to another racecourse. Personally, I think that this must be sensible.
Between September 1961 and March 1980 the board has allocated nearly £21 million in assistance to racecourses by way of grants and loans, but there remains an enormous amount of work to be done if our courses are to be able to compete for spectators against other leisure pursuits.
§ Lord Mancroft
I do not want to repeat again at this stage of the Bill the remarks I made on Second Reading, but I think that the noble Lord, Lord Peart, must by now have realised that there is a real danger of this useful Bill's being lost if he persists in his amendments. I do not disagree with much of what he has said, and I agree also with many noble Lords, including my noble friend Lord Manton, that there may by now be a time for a reassessment of the work of the Levy Board. Having served on it for four years myself, there is one point I should like to make. Those who were representing the Tote, as I did, and the bookmakers, as others did, under the chairmanship first of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, and then of Sir Desmond Plummer gave their views not only from the standpoint of the Tote or the bookmaking industry; they spoke, I think I am right in saying, from the interests of the racing world as a whole, and that point should not be overlooked. All the same, it does not alter the fact that there may now be reasons for looking at the constitution again.
The noble Lord, Lord Peart, has not told us—I think probably out of tact—what sort of negotiations he has had with the Levy Board itself. I will not press him to say. What I would press him to do is to realise that the weight of feeling in the Committee now is not against what he has been saying but is against any possible chance of our losing the Bill; and that view I put to your Lordships all the more vehemently having listened carefully to the remarks of Sir Desmond Plummer, the present chairman of the Levy Board, only two or three days ago about the financial position of the racing industry as a whole today. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Peart, will do nothing to make that matter worse.
§ 11.55 a.m.
§ Lord Wigg
I have now recovered my breath a little and I can perhaps deal with one or two points that have 830 been made. I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Manton, and I read his speech on the Second Reading. I plead with him, please go and do your homework. Do not face up to me; face up to what the Royal Commission has said. It points out that the levy should be spent in the interests of punters, because, after all, it is they who contribute it. In paragraph 9.108 they say that the levy is derived from the lowest paid section of the community. It is spent in the interests of the wealthiest.
What is the result? The noble Lord, Lord Manton, talks about the spread. After all, I introduced the spread. I know its weaknesses. It is said by the chairman of the Levy Board and by others that this was done in order to help stable wage staff. Go and tell that to the Transport and General Workers Union! They have written to the Home Secretary asking for these changes to be made because they point out one simple fact which the noble Lord, Lord Manton, does not seem to know: 55 per cent. of prize money goes to 12 trainers. So all the rest of the trainers and all the rest of the stable staff get nothing.
The Royal Commission point out that the case for prize money has been put too high. It is not the principal thing. Of course it is if you are a breeder, and particularly a commercial breeder—and they are very good. They have got £375,000 for a fillies' premium, which is a complete waste of money. But, having tasted blood, they now want a colts' premium. In the end I suppose they are brassnecked enough to ask for a geldings' premium. But look at the result: the Ascot Gold Cup, four runners. On radio yesterday it was said that people will not run the horses because they are afraid of winning, because if they win it puts a black mark against them for breeding. Last Saturday at York—Lord Manton would have been there—in the Michael Sobell Handicap there were two runners. In the Autumn Summer Cup there were five runners. Turn to jumping: no steeplechasers. So this is the result.
But do not answer me; answer the Royal Commission's Report, because if you do not answer it you are going to reduce racing in this country to dog racing, and, God knows!, that has got into a mess for the same reason: those who run it do not know anything about it. Lord Manton came along. He is a Tote monopolist, and he would, if he could, by a stroke of the pen, have a Tote monopoly. But you cannot. You cannot compare this—
§ Lord Wigg
Just a moment, please. I will give way in a moment. You cannot give way to that argument, because how you bet is decided by the punter. If he cannot do it legally he will do it illegally. That is what this is about. It is on this that Lord Butler based his legislation. If the noble Lord will read the report of the debate on 14th December 1960 he will find that Lord Renton, on behalf of the Government, said—and I supported him—that it is on the assumption, indeed on the understanding, that we agreed to two members, that the Jockey Club would represent the outside major interests. They did not do a thing about it until I became chairman in 1967.
During that period from 1961 to 1967 every penny 831 that was spent by the Levy Board under Jockey Club pressure was spent illegally—I stress it, illegally—because they were required to get the authority of the Home Secretary, which they never sought. I tell you they are still doing it. That is what this is about. If public money is spent, either by levy or by taxation, it must be spent properly and not in the interests of a body like the Jockey Club. The noble Lord, Lord Peart, does not want to upset the balance and that is why he has framed the amendments as they are, and if the Committee is wise and is really concerned about racing, sport and leisure, it will vote for them.
§ Baroness Trumpington
The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, made much play about the squandering of money. Speaking as a member of the appeal committee of the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket, I wish to make it clear that without money from the betting levy, the work done by the Equine Research Station would greatly suffer.
§ Baroness Trumpington
The noble Lord should remember that because that is an important contribution to the future of the bloodstock industry in this country. I hope very much, in supporting what my noble friend said previously, that we shall get the Bill through this morning.
§ Lord Manton
The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, made the surprising remark—even more surprising because he and I sat on that very board together for at least three years—that I was a Tote monopolist. I do not know where he got that suggestion from. I have never made any public statement saying I was a Tote monopolist and I can only think the noble Lord has fallen into the age-old trap that used to happen in Southampton Row, and apparently could even happen in your Lordships' House, of confusing me with the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft.
§ 12.3 p.m.
§ Lord Crawshaw
It might be helpful if I were to comment briefly at this stage. I wish at the outset to thank the Committee for the general support that has been given to the Bill, and I understand that noble Lords are intending to continue that support. I thank my noble friend Lord Sandys for his valuable contribution and I am delighted to see the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, well enough to take part in our debates and I know that a lot of what he says is derived from great experience of racing, and I assure him I appreciate that.
I must, however, ask the Committee to stick to the two main points of the Bill, and as I explained those fully on Second Reading, when I spoke for about a quarter of an hour, I do not think I need weary your Lordships again this morning with that aspect. I will, however, give a brief reminder that because of the Levy Board cash flow problem, it is the wish and the desire of the Bill's promoters in the other place and of the House of Commons in general that the practice adopted by 65 per cent. of bookmakers already voluntarily—in that they pay their dues, so to speak, 832 in advance; I have already explained the procedure by which they do that—should be put on the statute book and made standard practice, and to deal with the question of legal avoidance, a matter which I also explained in my Second Reading speech. I do not think I need go into those matters again.
However, I must also emphasise the point my noble friends Lord Sandys and Lord Manton and others have made; namely, that we have a problem over the Bill in that time is extremely short. I was very much hoping a year ago, as the Committee may be aware, to introduce a Bill into your Lordships' House, which would have then gone to the Commons, and perhaps we should have had a little more time for discussion here. I am assured that there is only one more day for Private Members' Bills in the Commons. There is an important and long Bill which is likely to come up before this one and therefore there is a genuine prospect of this Bill running out of time should it be amended by your Lordships. I am sorry about that, but that is a fact.
There will be other opportunties for introducing amendments along the lines of the suggestions of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, and others, possibly in Government legislation which has already been mentioned by my noble friend Lord Sandys. Of course, there is nothing to stop a Private Member from bringing in a further Bill if he so wishes. I do not want to see the main points of this Bill jeopardised or put in danger; it would endanger a lot of things which the racing authorities are trying to do if we were, so to speak, to tamper with the main proposals in the Bill.
There is also the point that if we should lose the Bill the racing industry would suffer. There would be an increased clamour for a change in the whole system; the levy system might have to be abandoned and we might even have to reconsider the question of the Tote monopoly. Therefore, in the bookmaking interests as well, we should leave the Bill as it is. Some attractive suggestions have been made today. For example, the question of the chairman of the Horserace Advisory Council being a member of the Levy Board statutorily is probably a good one, but the Horserace Advisory Council is quite a young body and it would be as well to let it settle down before putting that sort of proposal into a Bill. I hope therefore that the noble Lord, Lord Peart, will see fit to withdraw the amendment in view of what I and other noble Lords have said.
§ Lord Wigg
Perhaps I may be permitted to ask the noble Lord, Lord Crawshaw, a question. In paragraph 995 of the report of the Royal Commission it says that the Levy Board and Jockey Club made a joint submission that there should be a levy of £22 million at 1976 prices, which is £40 million at current prices, yet we have the Chancellor saying, "No more; it is dangerously high". Do the noble Lord and his supporters support that Jockey Club statement that there should be a levy of £22 million at 1976 prices, which is £40 million at current prices? If he supports it, would he tell us how to get it? I would assure the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, that I was always an advocate of giving more money; of course, there should be more research, but does she not see that if 833 one has a policy of ever-increasing prize money and loans to Jockey Club courses free of interest, then, one has no more money for anything else? It is because I believe that what she says is right that she should vote with us today. However, my main purpose in intervening is to ask the noble Lord, Lord Crawshaw, whether he supports that £22 million idea, £40 million at current prices, and if so, how would he get it?
§ Lord Crawshaw
I would certainly support as much resources as possible being made available for racing. I know perfectly well—
§ Lord Crawshaw
As I say, I certainly support what resources can be made available because I know perfectly well what could be used by the racing industry, particularly as the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, himself mentioned Aintree. That is a perfect example of where greater resources could be used.
§ Lord Wigg
The point is that there is no choice between either an amended levy system or no levy, which is what the Treasury want. Let us therefore get quite clear what we are doing. We are torpedoeing the present system—the effects of it cannot be denied—so please, those who oppose the noble Lord, Lord Peart, do not let the tears roll down their cheeks when the last Grand National is run and when it is said, "No more Derby". You will have done it. I put the choice before you and it is your choice.
§ Lord Peart
We have had an interesting and long debate on the amendment and I think we should now come to a conclusion on it.
§ 12.8 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 45; Not-Contents 71.834
|Allen of Abbeydale, L.||Ilchester, E.|
|Amherst, E.||Jeger, B.|
|Ardwick, L.||Jenkins of Putney, L.|
|Aylestone, L.||John-Mackie, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Kinloss, Ly.|
|Birk, B.||Leatherland, L.|
|Bishopston, L. [Teller.]||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.|
|Briginshaw, L.||Longford, E.|
|Brockway, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.|
|Byers, L.||Mersey, V.|
|Clancarty, E.||Mishcon, L.|
|Collison, L.||Noel-Baker, L.|
|Denington, B.||Oram, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L.||Pargiter, L.|
|Evans of Claughton, L.||Peart, L.|
|Ewart-Biggs, B.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.|
|Gaitskell, B.||Shinwell, L.|
|Gosford, E.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Grey, E. [Teller.]||Taylor of Blackburn, L.|
|Hale, L.||Underhill, L.|
|Hanworth, V.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Hooson, L.||Wigg, L.|
|Houghton of Sowerby, L.|
|Allendale, V.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.|
|Alport, L.||Lyell, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Mancroft, L.|
|Avon, E.||Manton, L. [Teller.]|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Margadale, L.|
|Belper, L.||Marley, L.|
|Clitheroe, L.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Noel-Buxton, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Pender, L.|
|Cromartie, E.||Porritt, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Rawlinson of Ewell, L.|
|De Freyne, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Denham, L.||Scarbrough, E.|
|Devonshire, D.||Shannon, E.|
|Dilhorne, V.||Sharples, B.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Soames, L.|
|Effingham, E.||Spens, L.|
|Exeter, M.||Stamp, L.|
|Fairhaven, L.||Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.|
|Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Gainford, L.||Swinfen, L.|
|Granville of Eye, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Greenway, L.||Teviot, L.|
|Grimthorpe, L.||Teynham, L.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Trevethin and Oaksey, L.|
|Trumpington, B. [Teller.]|
|Halifax, E.||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Vestey, L.|
|Henley, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Kilmany, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Lane-Fox, B.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Lindsey and Abingdon, E.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 12.17 p.m.
§ Lord Peart had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 2:
§ Page 2, line 7, leave out ("the Bookmakers' Committee and").
§ The noble Lord said: In view of the outcome of the vote, I do not propose to move my remaining amendments.
§ [Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.]
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ The Chairman of Committees (Lord Aberdare)
I understand that Amendments Nos. 4 to 10 are not to be moved.
§ [Amendments Nos. 4 to 10 not moved.]
§ Clause 3 agreed to.
§ [Amendment No. 11 not moved.]
§ Remaining clauses and schedule agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported without amendment.
§ Report received.