Decision on Levy Board spending put back to December
The complexities surrounding the planned replacement of the levy system have meant a decision on the Levy Board's expenditure in what are set to be the last three months of its existence has been delayed.
The board's expenditure this year was set to fall by £4 million to around £74m, caused by an unexpectedly sharp fall in levy yield, but there had been estimates that spending would have to be cut by a further £20-£25m in 2017 to balance the books, with an inevitable effect on prize-money.
However, that was before the government announced it planned to bring in a levy replacement system from April 1. While that remains the date for the switch to a new framework, both the racing and betting industries are waiting to hear what the rate for the new system will be, although Tracey Crouch wrote to them in October to inform them she was "minded" to set it at ten per cent of gross profits.
It was also proposed that the Gambling Commission would take over from the Levy Board as the collection body for levy funds.
The deadline for representations from the minister passed this month and confirmation of the government's plans are expected shortly.
There was no imperative for the Levy Board to make a decision on expenditure this month so it has been delayed until December.
The board met on Wednesday after which chief executive Alan Delmonte said: "The board decided unanimously that it could not yet be in a position to agree expenditure for the first three months of 2017 but will do so at its meeting on December 13.
"By that time, further guidance is expected to have come from government about the arrangements it envisages in relation to the new legislative system due to begin on April 1.
"In the light of that, the board can decide on the appropriate level of expenditure until March 31."
Racing and betting are also waiting to hear from government on its determination of the statutory levy deal, which is necessary as the legislation to introduce the new system is not yet in place.