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Levy Board delays spending decisions as it waits for European approval

Levy Board chief executive Alan Delmonte
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The Levy Board has again had to delay making a decision on expenditure as it and the wider industry wait for European approval of the government's levy reforms.

That approval is understood to be imminent but it did not come in time for the Levy Board's latest meeting this week.

The board has had to put back spending decisions on a number of occasions in recent months as it waited for clarity over the government's plans.

In February the board told Britain's racecourses it would maintain its racing-related expenditure in April and May.

However, it repeated its warning that should any problems occur with the government's plan to replace the levy system, spending levels might not be maintained, leading to the likelihood of prize-money cuts.

Levy Board chief executive Alan Delmonte said on Thursday: "The board agreed not to reach decisions about June expenditure.

"It will continue to keep the financial position under regular review and will consider its future expenditure again in due course."

The Levy Board has been spending around £2 million more than it receives in yield from the betting industry each month and has been depleting its reserves to do so.

Prime minister Theresa May's decision to call a general election for June 8 had caused some hearts to flutter within racing.

Parliament is due to dissolve on May 3 but as the reforms to the levy have already gone through the parliamentary process, the legislation only requires minister Tracey Crouch's signature once it receives state aid approval from Europe.

Should approval be delayed until after May 3, it is understood racing believes it is still possible for the minister to sign off the legislation.

It will continue to keep the financial position under regular review and will consider its future expenditure again in due course
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