Tuesday 20th July 2021

Levy Board’s 2019/20 Annual Report Published

The Horserace Betting Levy Board’s  (HBLB) 2019/20 Annual Report has been published today and is available here.

In his Chief Executive’s Statement, Alan Delmonte notes that:

Following Government’s decision not to proceed with HBLB’s abolition, this was the first year in many during which the Board’s agenda was not focused on plans for its abolition.  This allowed the Board to begin a process of reviewing its operations, staffing, business planning, objectives and risk management.  A key first step in this process was the appointment of Craig Pemberton as Finance Director in July 2019.

Levy income for the year was £98m.  This outturn was the biggest since the Levy’s reach was extended in 2017 to capture betting with bookmakers outside of Great Britain.

Reserves stood at £58m at March 2020.

The benefit of the Board holding significant reserves  became  clear immediately at the outbreak of COVID-19 and this enabled the Board to offer support to racing in both the 2019/20 year and to continue this into the new financial year.  The full details of the Board’s support for Racing in response to the outbreak will be covered in the 2020/21 Annual Report and Accounts.

in early 2020 the Board had begun to review its methods of inviting and assessing expenditure applications. Some changes were introduced but other aspects had to be put on hold as a result of COVID-19.

Funding in the area of veterinary science and education was a particular focus at the end of 2019 when the Board was approached by the Animal Health Trust which had had a relationship  with the Board for some 40 years. Despite extensive liaison work with the charity over a six month period from early 2020, its financial position proved to be too difficult to resolve and it closed in mid-2020. The Board is now part of the group discussing successor arrangements. Ensuring that key disease surveillance and diagnostic services remain available seamlessly to the equine sector is a high priority.

Paul Lee stood down as Chairman in March 2020 after over 10 years in the role.  He was succeeded by Paul Darling, whose appointment by the Secretary of State was accompanied by Anne Lambert who joined the Board as the third Government appointed member.  The Board warmly expressed its gratitude to Paul Lee for his service.

The Report describes the Board’s activity for that financial year and includes the audited accounts for that period.

For further information please contact Alan Delmonte, Chief Executive on 07931 701536