Greyhound racing is back among the politicians this morning, but far from being another attack on the industry’s efforts on welfare, Neil Parish, Chair of the EFRA Committee (Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) will concentrate on the funding for greyhound welfare.
He will chair a Westminster Hall Debate regarding the ongoing concerns of financing welfare and regulation within licensed Greyhound racing in the UK.
The Tiverton and Honiton MP, who has repeatedly shown himself the most ‘greyhound welfare savvy’ politician in Westminster, will be continuing his push for a statutory 1% levy from bookmakers.
The scheduled 30-minute debate today comes following briefings from both the GBGB and the main animal welfare charities, which both highlight the funding gap between what is being paid under the voluntary contributions, and the amount of money required to fund the GBGB Greyhound Commitment ambitions.
Prior to the debate, he has laid out his concerns and observations in the parliamentary magazine – The House
GBGB’s Managing Director Mark Bird responded: “Whilst we welcomed the introduction of the bookmakers voluntary contributions at the start of this year, the subsequent drop off in retail contributions may well ultimately mean that we remain on a relatively stand still budget. In the next 12 months we must embark on unveiling the new kennelling standards for residential Greyhounds and must be in no doubt that this will require substantial investment to ensure that the standards are met.”
A report from the BGRF highlighted that in real terms income from the bookmakers for 2008/09 was £18m and this has dropped to £6.9m in 2018/19. The GBGB budget from contributions was set at £8m for 2019/20.
Bird explained, “I cannot impress enough on both government and bookmakers that the lack of sustained and guaranteed contributions means that we cannot plan in the long-term and that this current funding situation means that the GBGB is doing its level best but effectively with one arm tied behind our back.”
Following the debate, the Sports Minster Mims Davies will be invited to respond to matters raised within the debate.