Labour Party To Propose Taxes On English Premier League, Betting Firms To Boost Sport
New taxes on the Premier League and sports betting firms to boost grassroots football and other sports "will be proposed by Labour," according to Matt Dathan of the LONDON TIMES. Labour Party Deputy Leader Harriet Harman will also call for the reintroduction of two hours of sport a week for all primary school children -- a policy axed by the coalition government -- "and tough new targets on female participation in sport." The Tories dismissed the plans as a "short-term gimmick" and said that they were a sign that Labour Party leader Ed Miliband "was out of touch with football fans." However Labour said that it was right to exploit the wealth of the EPL by turning the 5% voluntary levy on its TV revenues into a "proper" tax, claiming that "the League has fallen short in what it counts towards the sum since it was introduced in 2001." The Premier League agreed to a record-breaking new broadcast deal last year, worth a collective £5.5B ($9.3B) over this season and next, "meaning Labour’s plans could raise a staggering" £275M ($467M) for developing grassroots football (LONDON TIMES, 7/24). In London, Jack Pitt-Brooke wrote there were new calls Wednesday night "for the League to honour fully commitments to the grassroots game made almost 15 years ago." Labour sport spokesperson Clive Efford said the Premier League was failing to meet its "moral obligation" to the English game. Efford insisted that the Premier League is "not spending anywhere near" what it ought to on grassroots football and that it was "absolutely essential" that it "meets the agreement" (INDEPENDENT, 7/24). Also in London, Patrick Wintour wrote a multimillion-pound levy on all sports betting "is being considered." At present "only gambling on horseracing is subject to a levy with the money," some £82M ($139M) in '14, returned to the racing industry. Efford said, "We believe it is right that businesses that make money from sport should contribute to sport." The betting industry says that "it already pays tax on its profits and there is no need to pay any more to the public purse" (GUARDIAN, 7/23).
THREAT CAUSES SLUMP: In London, Bryce Elder wrote "the threat of a new gambling tax sent William Hill and Ladbrokes slumping on Thursday." The bookmakers "dropped after the Labour party proposed extending a racing industry levy to all sports." Labour’s proposals also "rekindled worries that gambling restrictions will be a key platform in next year’s general election, particularly as The Responsible Gambling Trust’s industry study is due for publication around party conference season in September." William Hill, "which has interim results due next week," fell 4.3% to 339p. Ladbrokes was 4.9% lower at 132.3p (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/24).