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Levy Board receives stay of execution until April 2019

Parliamentary delays mean the Levy Board will continue to operate until 2019
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The Levy Board is set to continue operating until April 2019 as time has run out for the process leading to its abolition to be completed by the previous target of next spring.

The government's reforms of the levy system, which brought operators based offshore into the net for the first time, were passed by parliament in April.

The second stage of those reforms was for the Levy Board to be disbanded next year and its collection and spending responsibilities taken over by the Gambling Commission and a new Racing Authority respectively.

That was to be enacted through a piece of secondary legislation called a legislative reform order.

However, prime minister Theresa May's decision to call a snap general election in June has caused that timetable to slip, with parliament's summer recess now having started without the consultation process having begun.

Achieving the 2018 switchover was made even more difficult by the election result, with a hung parliament making the process of passing secondary legislation much longer due to added scrutiny.

While the Department for Culture, Media and Sport could not confirm the new date, it said it would now be working to "a realistic timetable".

A DCMS spokesperson said on Thursday: "We are completely committed to completing the reforms to the administration of the Horserace Betting Levy.

"It will give the sport more money, greater control on spending decisions and reduce administration costs.

"We will work to a realistic timetable to ensure the reforms can go through smoothly and give clarity to racing on the process."

The uncertainty over the Levy Board's future has led to some staff members leaving, the latest being head of operations Tasha Power who departs the organisation on Friday before heading to the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Paul Lee's second term as chairman is due to finish at the end of September but it is understood he is set to stay on in the position for the period up to April 2019.

The board is also without one of its other government-appointed members as Neil Goulden stood down earlier this year and has not been replaced.

However, despite the lengthier period of transition to the Racing Authority, which will be made up of representatives of the BHA, Horsemen's Group and Racecourse Association, the sport and the Levy Board are working side by side on distributing income from the reformed system.

We will work to a realistic timetable to ensure the reforms can go through smoothly and give clarity to racing on the process
E.W. Terms