Lord David Lipsey says he is feeling more positive as he cites recent petition shows a “groundswell of opinion”
Labour peer Lord David Lipsey, former chair of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), has said he is growing more optimistic over the future outcome of affordability checks.
Lord Lipsey, who is the chair of Premier Greyhound Racing, released a statement in October which forewarned of significant damage to the greyhound racing industry should the checks be implemented.
Speaking to EGR at Millbank Tower, the former journalist said that since then he has grown more confident in the eventual outcome.
He explained: “I’m much more optimistic now. The Culture Secretary seems to be sympathetic. They’re obviously very cautious and they’ve got some very strong figures on their side.
“I have every possible finger crossed. I hope it won’t be as bad as the racing sports fear,” he added.
Elsewhere, Lord Lipsey gave his thoughts on the affordability checks petition launched by The Jockey Club CEO Nevin Truesdale, which recently passed the 100,000 signatures mark.
Under UK law, petitions that reach that threshold may be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
Lord Lipsey said: “The debate in the House is secondary. The number of names on a petition is never something that particularly impresses me because if you ask most people to sign a petition they will.
“But, it does show a groundswell of opinion and that message has not been lost.”
When asked if any other proposals from the white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 review or government policy could have an impact on greyhound racing, Lord Lipsey touched on the potential increase in remote betting duty.
As outlined in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, the government could explore bringing in a “single tax, rather than taxing [remote betting] through a three-tax structure”.
This could see general betting and poll betting duty lifted from its current 15% of GGR rate in line with remote gaming duty’s 21% rate.
However, Lord Lipsey suggested the immediate reaction to the news was perhaps overblown.
He explained: “I shouldn’t be over fair to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I thought some of the coverage was perhaps assuming it was an increase in tax. What could perfectly well happen is they have a compromise tax.
“They think one rate of tax is better than having three, so I’m far from being in a panic about that.”