Levy replacement on track despite Brexit, says BHA

Stable staff: the industry likely to be hit by new immigration policy

Stable staff: the industry likely to be hit by new immigration policy

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

THE BHA has said it will work closely with government and that there remained a commitment to levy replacement in Westminster as shockwaves rippled through racing on Friday following the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union.

The government announced in March it intended to replace the levy by April next year and racing’s governing body said that remained on track and achievable.

BHA director of corporate affairs Will Lambe said:”The BHA will work closely with government contacts including in particular officials from DCMS and Defra, as well as other sporting bodies, to represent the interests of British horseracing in the discussions and decisions that will follow on from today’s result.”

Lambe said it was too early to assess the implications of the vote on the sector as a whole.

However he added: “The replacement of the levy was and is a government commitment, with full cross-party backing and support right across the Conservative Party.

“There is strong, and still growing, recognition of the sport’s economic, cultural and social importance right across the country.”

Betting industry reaction

The result of the vote was also being digested within the betting industry, especially by those bookmakers with online arms based in Gibraltar.

Ladbrokes chief executive Jim Mullen said: “The Referendum result undoubtedly poses new questions and we must take time to understand and work through the full implications for our business and the betting industry before making knee-jerk reactions.”

Shares in major bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill dropped by ten per cent before rallying in the first hour of trading on the London stock market.

The pound at one stage on Friday morning plummeted to its lowest value since 1985 following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, while the London stock market has plunged more than eight per cent.

The FTSE 100 index fell more than 500 points to 5,808.72, before rebounding to over 6,000.00, while David Cameron announced he will resign as prime minister.

Bookmakers were in shock and questioned themselves over how they got the result so wrong with Ladbrokes as short as 1-10 last night for the verdict to be Remain – and the firm are one of many parts of the racing industry that are likely to be impacted on by the sensational, and surprising, decision.

Racing reacts to Brexit

Newmarket trainer Sir Mark Prescott revealed on Friday morning he voted Remain and believes the verdict suggests it was “a protest vote”.

Prescott said: “I voted to Remain as I couldn’t have Boris Johnson – who took three days to decide which camp he was in – and I wouldn’t follow Nigel Farage along a footpath.

“It seems a bit ridiculous to be throwing it all in the air for the sake of two percent. If it was 60-40 fair enough but this was a protest vote, pure and simple.”

Manton trainer George Baker, who worked in the City before turning to racing, wrote on his blog: “The stock market in turmoil. The pound in freefall. I vividly recall sitting on the Tube at about this hour (5.45) on mornings of financial chaos. The floor of the stock market provided a forum for discussion. The faceless computer trading of today less easy to guide or predict.

“I fervently hope, as we all must, that this decision is the right one for our country in the long term. For our children. And their country. And their lives.”

Hugo Palmer (@hugopalmeracing) used a football analogy when tweeting following the historic news. He said: “The frustating point that everyone missing is that this vote doesn’t mean we are ‘out’. It means the very long process of getting out now begins.

“It’s not as simple as cancelling your season ticket because you think the team sucks!”

In a rather more jovial mood, Jamie Osborne (@osbornejamie) tweeted fellow trainer Richard Fahey: “Hey @Richard Fahey – go and get a visa. #europeansout”

 

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