HC Deb 04 March 1982 vol 19 c207W
Sir Timothy Kitson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce his determination under section 1 of the Horserace Betting Levy Act 1969 of the horserace betting scheme beginning 1 April 1982.

Mr. Whitelaw

I have today sent the following letter to the chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the chairman of the Bookmakers' CommitteeIn your letter to me of 1st November you reported to me that the Board had been unable to approve the recommendations of the Bookmakers' Committee for the scheme to have effect for the 21st levy period and that the scheme accordingly fell to be determined by me. In my Private Secretary's letters to you of 17th and 30th December he informed you that, in accordance with section 1(5) of the Horserace Betting Levy 1969, I had decided to appoint Mr. R. N. D. Langdon of Spicer and Pegler, and of the terms of reference of the appointment, to inquire into and report to me on the matters covered by those terms of reference. Mr. Langdon has now reported to me and I have reached by decision. I enclose a copy of Mr. Langdon's report and of the scheme I have determined. In reaching my decision I have taken into account in addition to the material in Mr. Langdon's report, all the submissions made to me about the bookmakers' capacity to pay, and all those about the needs of racing. I have also had to have regard to the widely expressed view that any increase in levy rates should not be such as to lead bookmakers to increase the deductions they make from money staked by the punter. In paragraph F.6 of his report, Mr. Langdon refers to the extent to which the present level of deductions exceeds the liability to duty and levy for the various categories of bookmakers, which indicates that, even for those in the highest category, an increase in the existing levy rate of 11 per cent. could be met entirely out of the existing deductions. Bearing this in mind, and having regard to the needs of racing, I have decided that levy rates should be increased by 12 per cent. Mr. Langdon estimates that horserace betting turnover will increase by 4 per cent. in the period of the 21st Levy Scheme. On that assumption the rates of levy which I have determined should produce a yield of about £20 million. I am satisfied that bookmakers will be able to make their contributions to the levy at this rate without making any increase in their deductions from the punter. The Scheme makes no provision for introducing the new levy charge on facilities provided by individual bookmakers and companies in racecourse grandstands, at present at Ascot and Epsom, as requested by the Levy Board in their memorandum of 6th November, 1981. I accept the principle that business conducted by such bookmakers which is directly comparable to the starting price business conducted on-course by the National Association of Racecourse Betting Offices Ltd. and the Tote Board should be subject to the same or similar levy charges. But I look to the Levy Board and the Bookmakers' Committee to explore how this can be done without damage to on-course pitch bookmaking business, so that provision can be made in the 22nd Levy Scheme. I am writing in similar terms to the Chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee.

I have placed a copy of the scheme and of Mr. Langdon's report in the Library of the House.