The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is disappointed at the levy yield for 2008-2009, which will stay at about £97.5million. The funding, set by the government and reaped from the betting industry, is one of the main sources of income for British racing.

BHA chairman Paul Roy said: “We are standing still for another year. The levy yield must reflect the value of racing. We believe this is at least £135m.”

The divide between the racing and betting industries was highlighted by sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe at the BHA’s inaugural annual conference in London on 25 February.

He urged both sides to agree on an alternative funding system to the levy during meetings held through the All-Party Racing and Bloodstock Industries Group.

“Both industries share responsibility to ensure racing flourishes,” said Mr Sutcliffe.

Mr Roy also expressed relief at the way the various factions within racing — themselves often at loggerheads — united to produce the levy submission.

In his conference speech, he said: “By focusing on the job, we ended up with a clear understanding of what racing is worth to the betting industry and to the broader economy.”

Mr Sutcliffe said the levy will remain in place until a suitable replacement system is agreed.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (6 March, ’08)