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Column 170to as "the contractual Sunday hours") bears to the aggregate of those hours and the hours of work actually done by the betting worker in the period.
(2) Where, under the contract of employment, the hours of work actually done on weekdays in any period would be taken into account in determining the contractual Sunday hours, they shall be taken into account in determining the contractual Sunday hours for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) above.
16. Section 22B and 22C of the 1978 Act (which relate to proceedings brought by an employee on the ground that he has been subjected to a detriment in contravention of section 22A of that Act) shall have effect as if the reference in section 22B(1) to section 22A included a reference to paragraph 10 above.
(iii) Schedule 4A to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963".
18. In section 133 of the 1978 Act (general provisions as to conciliation offers) at the end of subsection (1) there shall be added
"(ff) arising out of a contravention, or alleged contravention, of paragraph 10 of Schedule 4A to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963".'.
Mr. Paice : The effect of new clause 1 is to remove from the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 the ban on licensed betting offices opening to the public on Sundays. It also introduces into that Act a schedule of employee protection.
The impact, however, of the new clause would be to allow betting offices to open on Sundays, thus enabling horse racing to take place on Sundays. I should make it absolutely clear to the House that it will also enable greyhound racing to take place. I do not pretend to know very much about greyhound racing, so I shall leave it to other hon. Members to discuss in more detail, but I understand that the industry would benefit considerably and I have received a letter from the British Greyhound Racing Board expressing its support. In the seven years that I have been a Member of Parliament, there have been three earlier attempts to allow Sunday racing to take place. My hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames), now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, introduced a Bill, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay), and then my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) took over the Bill of the noble Lord Wyatt. All failed--probably inevitably, given the constraints on private Members' legislation and because other aspects of Sundays had not been resolved by the House. Nevertheless, I pay tribute to my three hon. Friends for their pioneering work in raising the profile of the issue so that the industry was in a better position to address some of the problems before coming to the House tonight to try once more.
It is also important at this stage to point out to the House that considerable discussion has taken place within the industry over the past four months since I first conceived the idea of using the deregulation Bill as a vehicle for change. For all that time the hon. Member for Livingston
Column 171(Mr. Cook) has been involved in those discussions and has been most robust in his support for the principles, and I thank him for that. Although I am conscious that in the past few days one or two voices in the industry have raised questions, I should make it clear that they have been involved and consulted for a considerable time before the new clause was tabled.
Some of my hon. Friends may be concerned at what might be seen an a stimulus to further betting and gambling. I make no secret of the fact that I do not share their criticism or concern, but I respect it. To that extent, it is important to review the law at the present time.
Although, in law, betting, gaming and lotteries are distinct forms of gambling, any survey of public opinion would find it extremely difficult to identify any difference in the public perception of them. All three are legal on Sundays, so a substantial amount of gambling already takes place.
It is perfectly legal for people to enter a casino on a Sunday and take part in all the activities of such places. It is also possible to bet on horse racing on Sundays. Anyone sufficiently well-off to have a credit account with a bookmaker can place bets by telephone on a Sunday on horse races taking place in a different country. I shall return to that point. People can play on an amusement-with-prizes machine--I prefer to call it a one-armed bandit--yet most people consider that to be gambling.
Perhaps the most important point is that when the national lottery is introduced in a few months, it will be perfectly legal to buy a ticket on a Sunday from any of the outlets. The national lottery has been approved and supported by both sides of the House, working on behalf of the Government.
That brings me to my final point on the issue of betting, which is that the Government are not a disinterested bystander--on the contrary, the Treasury receives a substantial tax revenue from betting, gaming and lotteries. The general betting duty alone raises almost £500 million a year.
I want to explain why I believe that there is a need to allow horse racing on Sundays. It will not have gone unnoticed that horse racing and, indeed, greyhound racing are the only major sports that do not currently take place on a Sunday. Football, cricket, golf, motor racing and horse trials all take place on Sundays and the vast majority of people recognise them as part of modern Sunday leisure activities. Therefore, horse racing is being discriminated against by being unable to compete in what is becoming an ever-more competitive leisure market.
I make it clear that, of all the major horse racing countries, Britain is the only one where horse racing does not take place on Sundays. In Ireland, France and Italy, the three other big racing nations in Europe-- incidentally, all Catholic nations--horse racing with betting takes place on Sundays. Indeed, in Ireland, which is in its third season of Sunday racing, it is already possible to draw some conclusions. By holding the Irish Derby on a Sunday, while we hold our Derby on a Wednesday, their attendances have risen substantially whereas ours have
Column 172fallen dramatically because modern life styles mean that fewer and fewer people can afford to take a day off midweek.
Attendances in Ireland on a Sunday compare favourably with comparative Saturday fixtures. Perhaps more important, many of the racegoers on a Sunday are different from the usual racegoer. They include many more women and children and there is very much more of a family atmosphere--and that is extremely important to horse racing if it is to become even more of a mainstream sporting activity. Why is betting necessary in order to have horse racing on Sundays ? First, anyone who goes racing knows of the significant increased attraction and enjoyment from being able to put a small bet on a horse that might take one's fancy for any one of a number of reasons. Secondly, and far more significantly, the inherent desire of the British people to gamble and to bet on horses will always find an outlet. There is justifiable concern in Customs and Excise that unless there is an opportunity for legal betting, both on and off-course, there will be a mushrooming of illegal activity, just as there was before the 1963 legislation. For that reason, it has not been possible for me to separate on and off-course betting. Finally, there is the matter of the horse race betting levy--the very significant contribution back into the racing industry that comes from the use of racing's product by the betting industry. There is no doubt that, with the advent of the national lottery, there will be some diversion of any money available for gambling and horse racing, so racing will lose. In Ireland, the lottery reduced betting turnover by 17 per cent. That is why I am anxious that Sunday racing should provide an alternative way of sustaining betting office turnover, which would be good both for racing and for the bookmakers.
Mr. Ian Taylor (Esher) : My hon. Friend's point about support for the industry through betting is also a factor in the possible transfer of prize money to courses overseas. I know from representations from Sandown Park in my constituency that it is worried about that factor, which is why it supports what my hon. Friend is saying this afternoon.
Over the past two years, three experimental race meetings have been held on Sundays to show the public exactly what a Sunday meeting could be like. Obviously, no cash betting could take place, although a small amount of credit betting occurred. The absence of cash betting severely damaged the quality of the racing, although the attendance was substantial.
What will happen if the new clause is passed ? In the next two years, the British Horseracing Board will include in its fixture list a small number of Sundays. There will be no dramatic change ; it is not intended that a sudden surge of Sunday meetings will take place all over the country. Britain has 59 racecourses, the vast majority of which would not be open on a Sunday. Many would never have Sunday meetings, while others would have just one or two. One has only to look at the Saturday fixture list to realise that most courses do not operate on Saturdays. And even if, in several years' time, Sunday racing becomes more
Column 173popular so that there is an overall increase in the fixture list, only a small number of Sunday meetings is likely to take place. My final point concerns the new schedule of employment protection. I and my colleagues on both sides of the House who have tabled the new clause looked carefully at those who would be affected by the proposals. People who work in licensed betting offices and the staff of the Tote who work on and off course will be directly affected. Many others in the racing industry would also be affected : stable lads, jockeys, trainers, and horsebox drivers will work on Sundays, as will race course staff, officials, caterers and so on. But most of those already have Sunday work in their work rota. Stable lads, trainers, race course staff, officials and caterers often work on Sundays for a number of hours, although the new clause may increase that workload. Race course officials who do not have meetings at present may be involved in other activities on race courses on Sundays, such as antiques fairs, which take place on my local course of Newmarket.
In any event, most race courses will be closed on any one Sunday, so the only new group of employees who will be significantly affected will be the staff of betting offices and the Tote. That is why the new clause includes a new schedule of employment rights specifically for those staff.
I am aware of the concern of the Stable Lads Association, but the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, which I seek to amend, is not the correct vehicle for addressing the concerns of the stable lads and to do so would not be in order. I assure the House and my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison), who has just joined us, that I understand the stable lads' concerns. The British Horseracing Board will undertake to initiate discussions with employers to obtain appropriate improvements and changes to the terms and conditions that will be necessary for stable lads who will have to work longer hours and on some Sundays.
The new schedule in amendment No.1 sets out terms of employee protection identical to those provided for retail staff in the Sunday Trading Bill, which is currently in another place. I recognise that many bookmakers may be concerned at being singled out for employee protection, but I hope that they will understand not only the fact that the House is unlikely to approve the measure without employee protection, but that, under current law, the distinct group of people that I have described would not normally expect to have to work on a Sunday.
The Betting Office Licensees Association, which represents the large bookmakers, is also concerned that its staff should be seen as employees of the leisure industry, not the retail industry. That may well be the case ; it is an extremely valid argument, but to make that change would require a substantial review of the entire legislation surrounding betting offices, and that is not the purpose of my proposals. It could be done only under the auspices of a specific Government Bill at some stage in future.
Why should the British public be the only racing nation unable to enjoy their sport on a Sunday ? To allow betting to operate would enable many more people to participate in the sport, in which Britain and--I make no bones about it--many of my constituents have been, and will continue to be, pre-eminent. I believe that new clause 1 and the new schedule that I have tabled with it are workable. I do not pretend to be infallible, but if, as I am advised, certain
Column 174aspects of the schedule on employment protection need to be technically changed, I hope that the Government will agree to do that in another place.
I welcome the fact that hon. Members on both Front Benches have agreed to a free vote on new clause 1. That is extremely valuable and welcome. I very much hope that, on the back of that, the House will accept the new clause and give the racing public an opportunity to enjoy their sport on a Sunday.
Sir Peter Emery (Honiton) : I have listened with great interest to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South East (Mr. Paice) and congratulate him on the manner in which he presented his new clause and the reason with which he argued his case. Let me make it absolutely clear to him that I accept immediately that there is no reason why racing at race courses should not take place on a Sunday. It seems to me that it is a sport that many people appreciate, and there is no reason why those who are interested in it should be debarred from having race meetings on a Sunday when most other sports are able to continue. I understand also his argument that to have racing on a Sunday where there is no on-course betting makes it very difficult for the attraction, which is part of racing, to be complete. The whole of his argument on that is sincere and reasonable, and I accept it.
The only matter on which I have to begin to present an argument is for a considerable minority in this country--those who see a specific reason for trying to keep Sunday slightly special and who would find it somewhat unpleasant and unnecessary to have betting shops open in the high streets and villages throughout the country on a Sunday. That would happen because many of them are controlled by major national combines. There would be considerable resentment about that. My hon. Friend argued that, unless there was overall permission for betting to take place, both on and off course on a Sunday, it would be impossible for racing to proceed. I question that. He argued that that could not happen because Customs and Excise believes that, if betting shops were not to open, a great deal of illegal off-course betting would arise. That argument is somewhat dubious. It does not follow with the latter part of the case he made : that there would not be a major surge of meetings on a Sunday, and therefore there would not be a massive necessity to create an external factor in which betting can take place.
My hon. Friend admitted that many people--I believe that it is not just the rich, but many hundreds of thousands of people--have betting accounts. Many ladies in my constituency have betting accounts, watch the television and are delighted to place their small amount of money by telephone to the bookies. I see no reason why that should be banned. On the levy, it would not take much imagination on the part of the betting shops to prepare their betting slips to allow them to be used for a Sunday race as well for Saturday races so that those who wanted to bet on the Sunday schedule could quite easily do so on a Saturday without the shop having to open on a Sunday. They could collect their winnings on Monday.
I believe that it is the Home Office that has objected to the licensing of on-course betting, refusing to accept that it can be separated from off- course betting. I hope that, before they accept the new clause, the Government will give an undertaking to reconsider the matter and establish
Column 175whether it is possible to agree to the licensing of on-course betting and betting on account--which can take place anywhere--without necessarily allowing betting shops in every village in the country to open on Sunday. That would benefit those who want to enjoy Sunday racing and to bet on course, while not incurring the objections of a number of people--a minority, admittedly, but one of the largest minorities in the country : a Christian minority. Balancing those two interests would be greatly advantageous to the Government, while allowing my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East to achieve his aims without hindering the racing community.
I do not accept the argument of some outside organisations that unless there is off-course betting the industry will be unable to adopt Sunday racing. As my hon. Friend explained, there will be no sudden surge : if courses are allowed to provide on-course betting on Sundays, we shall achieve the objective that both he and I want. As I said, I support him at least in part.
I hope that the Government--including the Home Office--will examine the matter again. I see no reason for rejecting the new clause. After all, if the illegal off-course betting industry increases, the Government can increase the penalties to deter people. I believe that we can accommodate both sides of the question sensibly and reasonably.
Mrs. Llin Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme) : I must declare an interest, as treasurer of the all-party group on racing and bloodstock. I have supported Sunday racing for many years ; I have never been able to see the logic of allowing other sports to take place on Sundays while racing cannot. I have also been a strong supporter of on-course betting only, and- -like the right hon. Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery)--I do not understand why the Home Office could not see the sense of such an arrangement. However, following extensive debate in the all-party group, I am aware that unless we take this opportunity to allow Sunday racing, we shall remain in a ridiculous position for many years. I therefore have to tell the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Mr. Paice) that I shall support the amendment--much to his surprise, I think--but I want the protection of workers' rights and of the additional payment for those who work on Sundays to be included in the Bill. If that protection is included, the hon. Gentleman shall have my strong support, although I also wish that there were racing with on-course betting only.
Mr. Michael Alison (Selby) : I apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Paice) for not being here when he moved the new clause, but the debate on the earlier new clause and amendments was so rapid that I could not get here quickly enough. However, I arrived just in time to hear him express some very helpful sentiments in connection with stable lads in particular. I shall detain the House for a few moments to highlight the new clause's implications for stable lads. It is not my hon. Friend's fault, but stable lads are perforce excluded from the employment protection measures proposed in amendment No. 1 to benefit those who work in betting shops.
There is no automatic employment protection for the 8,000 to 10,000 people employed in the racing industry, for either the 6,000 or so who work in the various types of stables or the 3,000 or so employed as breeders and transport staff. Mr. W. A. J. Adams, the national secretary
Column 176of the Stable Lads Association, has outlined a vivid scenario of what will happen to staff at a typical stable, who do not at present work have to do much work on a Sunday, if there is regular Sunday racing on a large scale.
Mr. Adams cites the example of a stable yard with 40 horses which is adequately staffed with a ratio of one lad to three horses. Let us assume that on alternate weekends only six or seven members of staff are on duty at the yard to look after the 40 horses. As a result of the new clause, two Sunday races could be scheduled suddenly--one at Ayr and one at Newbury. If the trainer or owner has engaged one horse to run at Ayr, the distance between Ayr and the yard will mean that two of the seven rostered weekend staff will have to travel on Saturday to get to Ayr on time, leaving a depleted weekend contingent of five to work on Saturday evening.
If the owner is exerting pressure to have a runner at Newbury as well as Ayr, another two members of the weekend staff will have to leave first thing on Sunday morning, thus leaving a weekend contingent of three at the yard to look after the remaining 38 horses. It will almost certainly lead to the trainer ordering staff who are rostered off duty to cover for staff away at the races. Therefore, staff will lose the valuable time off that they usually expect to have at the weekend. Of course, the yard may also have horses running on Monday, in which case they would need exercising on Sunday and the staff may have to leave for the races on Sunday afternoon, thus depleting the Sunday care and maintenance staff even further.
Such a scenario would have a profound effect on the life and lot of stable lads. Their life and lot is not one of exotic, plutocratic wealth or high standards of living. They are, in fact, a vulnerable and low-paid sector of the work force. They typically work one weekend in two, with five hours' overtime. In 1991, a lad aged 19 received £144 a week as a minimum consolidated wage. The idea that, because of the extra pressure caused by Sunday working, the key staff will be increased--or that numbers will be "staffed up", as the saying goes in the trade--is a myth. The key staff on which the training of racehorses depends are usually over 25 years of age, married and very difficult to replace. There is already a drop-out from the industry of those aged 23 years and over, with the anti-social hours and low pay creating difficulties for married couples. A move towards Sunday racing without protection from being forced to work on Sundays will inevitably increase that trend.
In view of what my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East has said already and in view of my own brief contribution to the debate, I hope that he will see that it is constructive, helpful and wise to do everything possible to ensure that stable lads and those connected with training stables will not be affected adversely. Life in training stables will have to change in order to put stable lads on reasonably even terms with those who are employed in betting shops for whom my hon. Friend is trying to get a better deal.
I believe that it is in the interests of the horse racing industry to offer a new deal to stable lads and those associated with them in the context of what my hon. Friend is trying to do in his amendment. If my hon. Friend will confirm that he will put all his moral and mental force behind improving the lot of stable hands in the face of many extra Sunday racing events, I will take everything that he said at face value and give him my full support and credit for what he is trying to do. But my support for his
Column 177amendment is conditional on the fact that he will go to town and secure at least as good a deal for stable lads as he is trying to secure for those who work in betting shops.
Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton) : I intend to speak very briefly to the new clause as I suspect that the vast majority of hon. Members have already made up their minds about this issue. Nevertheless, it is important for me to put on record the reasons why I shall be voting against the new clause.
This debate is a conjunction of two very serious debates which have taken place in the Chamber in recent times--on the National Lottery Bill, when we explored the ethics of gambling, and the Sunday Trading Act 1993. Those debates caused great consternation on both sides of the House.
I was bemused to hear the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Paice) make some kind of causal link between catholicity and an enthusiasm for gambling. I thought that that was very odd. As a Catholic, I am virulently opposed to gambling--but on a pragmatic basis. My opposition is not a matter of religious conviction ; I oppose gambling simply because I look around and I see brothers, relatives and friends for whom gambling is an addictive disease. I have learnt that lesson over many years and it is one of the reasons why I shall be opposing the new clause tonight. I do not take any high moral ground ; I oppose it simply on the basis of my own experience.
I view with some amusement the notion that the bookies will somehow end up in the poorhouse if we do not open the betting shops on Sundays. In my part of the world we used to say that there was no such thing as a thin bookie. Perhaps I would fit the part myself if I were that way inclined.
I have three simple reasons for opposing the new clause. First, I have little time for horse racing. I think that it is controlled by members of a certain class with a certain level of wealth who run it as a private club. I have no truck with it, although many members of my family, my party and my constituents would take great exception to that point. But that is my view and I hold by it.
If I have little time for the horse racing industry, I do not give a tinker's damn about bookmakers and the money that they fleece from people throughout the country in one way or another. I will give no succour to bookmakers at any point. So far as I am concerned, to encourage gambling at any level is another nail in the coffin of society as we know it. In my view, gambling is a sickness which ought to be treated and not encouraged.
My second reason for voting against the new clause is that it will do further damage to families with a gambling problem. I am no moral arbiter for families in my constituency or anywhere else, but I know what will happen to many people I have seen for whom the only respite at present is a Sunday, because during the week the man of the house--or, increasingly, the woman of the house--spends all day in the betting shop. We all know that that happens.
The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East talked about turning betting shops into leisure centres.
Mr. Paice indicated dissent .
Mr. Kilfoyle : Or perhaps he said that betting shops should be regarded as part of the leisure industry--I think that he would accept that --but betting shops are really nothing but money-grinding machines for the bookies.
Thirdly, I oppose the new clause because I do not believe that the interests of the employees of the thousands of betting shops throughout the country will be protected. I am not convinced by the protestations of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East about the new schedule that he said would be added to protect employees' interests. Such measures have not worked before, and they will not work now. When the pressure is on, people who work part time in betting shops will face a clear choice : work on Sundays or be out of a job.
Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale) : I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Paice) on his sterling work, and on the weight that he, as chairman of the all-party racing and bloodstock committee, has borne on his shoulders in introducing the new clause and in promoting the interests of horse racing. My hon. Friend and I share an interest in horse racing. Although we represent different ends of the country, both our constituencies are important breeding and horse race training centres of excellence. I am in no doubt that the future of our horse racing industry will be enhanced by Sunday racing. That, above all else, is why I support it, and therefore why I support the new clause.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) asked why we require off-course as well as on-course betting. The Home Affairs Select Committee considered that question in detail when we inquired into the levy and the tote. In our report we recommended Sunday racing, but with on- course betting only. We cast our concerns on the strength of the argument about whether, if betting shops were closed, there would be illegal gambling. That was not the experience in Ireland. Three years later, however, having thought a great deal more about the subject, I believe that we need off-course as well as on-course betting. I will give my right hon. Friend two reasons why. First, restricting betting to the course is fine for people who go to the race course, but if there were a meeting in Newbury, people who live in North Yorkshire and are involved in the racing industry there would not be able to go to Newbury, bet on the race, watch it as a live spectacle and collect their winnings, or whatever. In horse racing--and betting is a crucial part of the sport--we should have a national picture ; everyone should be able to join in. If we closed the betting shops it would not be the wealthy who would lose, but the ordinary working man. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) was concerned about that. The ordinary working man, who has not got a telephone account with Ladbroke's or Coral's--in my opinion, for the reasons described by the hon. Member for Walton, perhaps he ought not to have one-- would lose.
The second reason for having off-course betting is one that I mentioned earlier. I believe that over time it would boost the viability and prosperity of horse racing. That is what we all want to see. The crucial ingredient in that process is the levy, which comes from off-course rather than on-course betting. If one considers the Grand National, for example, the loss of that one race last year
Column 179meant that the levy was the poorer by some £750,000. We want some of the classic races which at present are raced on a Tuesday, a Wednesday or perhaps a Thursday with not only low attendances but relatively low turnover in the betting shop, to take place at the weekend. There are enough of them on Saturdays. The Saturday fixtures are full. We want some of them raced on a Sunday. We shall then see a bigger betting turnover and a bigger levy as a consequence. That does not in any way mean that there will be more racing.
Mr. Greenway : My right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling) says that we have blown it, but there is undoubtedly an opportunity for more people to take part in racing in their leisure time at the weekend--on Saturday and Sunday--than when they are on the factory floor or in the office from Monday to Friday.
Mr. Greenway : A number of classics are raced on a Saturday--such as the St. Leger, which is raced over a mile and a half. The 2000 Guineas is raced on a Saturday. The Derby is raced on a Wednesday and the off-course betting turnover is much lower than, say, that of the Grand National. I believe that there would be a higher turnover if it were raced on a Sunday.
The next question to ask is how many races.
Mr. Michael Lord (Suffolk, Central) : I am listening carefully to my hon. Friend's argument. Earlier, we were told that there was no intention of over-stimulating weekend racing, that we would barely notice the difference for quite a few years and that it would all be very gentle. I suspect that my hon. Friend is letting the cat quietly out of the bag. He is saying that he wants the classics to be raced not just at the weekend, but specifically on a Sunday when a lot of people have more free time to get involved. However, that is also the precious free time that many Conservative Members want to preserve.
Mr. Greenway : That is up to my hon. Friend. If he wants to sit at home with his feet up in front of the fire on a Sunday afternoon, that is entirely up to him. He may choose to watch the racing or the football or to watch the repeat of "Coronation Street". Many working people are denied the choice of going to some of the classic races because they are raced on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. There is a three-day, mid- week meeting at York, and the Oaks trial has been run this afternoon in the past couple of hours. How many people who support racing can go to York races on a Tuesday afternoon ?
My hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) anticipated the point to which I was coming. We are not talking about racing every Sunday-- certainly not for the foreseeable future. We are not even talking necessarily about any extra race meetings. We are talking about some
Column 180race meetings which are currently held mid- week, including some of the classic races, being raced on a Sunday instead. All that we would be doing
Mr. Greenway : I have already given way three times in what I had hoped would be a fairly short speech. All that we want to do is to improve the finances of racing. The Treasury recognised the importance of that. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor certainly recognised that by reducing betting duty to stimulate the amount of money which could go back into racing, which is extremely important.
When every other major international and national sport takes place on a Sunday, we cannot expect to maintain a viable, long-term racing industry if one of the two main leisure days is denied to that industry by not having racing on Sunday. This is a unique opportunity for the House to put right a wrong that has existed for far too long. I therefore hope that the House will support the new clause moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East.
Mr. Lawrence Cunliffe (Leigh) : First, I declare my interest in the issue. I am vice-chairman of the leisure and recreation industry group. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) rightly and sincerely made some valid points about the way in which addiction to gambling can come from licensed betting shops. The all-party racing and bloodstock committee would, of course, condemn any growth in such addiction.
In the past 10 years, social trends have changed rapidly. There are 10 million households in which the man and wife both work, and one or both may work on Saturdays or Sundays. A problem arises in relation to leisure. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Walton that when, as chairman of the all-party group, I address conferences such as the clubs' annual conference, I make it clear that there is no such thing as a benevolent brotherhood of bookmakers, bankers and brewers, although they are all obviously interested in the leisure and racing industries.
Leisure has become an integral part of racing. Racing is a real and large industry, which is dependent on the leisure industry. Only last week, Haydock Park had model exhibitions, fairs and May day celebrations--non- political in content--to supplement the income from racing. Increasingly, there is dual usage, with football pitches or even rugby pitches in the centre of race courses. [Hon. Members :-- "What about fishing ?] Fishing or anything else will do. It is all part and parcel of our social network. It is imperative that there is support for the increase in activity that is envisaged over the next 10 or 15 years.
There is now freedom from the Sunday trading laws, despite the Lord's day observance societies and religious convictions. I say with great respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Walton, who has the same religion as I do, that I go to mass on Saturday evening. Saturday is no longer the permanent shopping day and it will change further as the years go on. I have the right to follow my religious practice on Sunday morning, Sunday evening or Saturday night. My hon. Friend has the same right and I know that he uses it. That is a commendation in every sense of the word.
The present position discriminates against racing. Let us consider sports ranging from motor racing to model aeroplane flying, cricket or tennis. There is betting on
Column 181rugby in my part of the world every Sunday. The odds are set out on coupons, and my hon. Friend the Member for Walton knows something about coupons because he has pools offices in his constituency. The pools are a mild form of gambling--a friendly flutter.
Why does the punter bet ? Why does he go into a betting shop ? He is not there to drink diet coke or to play the machines that everyone is arguing about. The ordinary, average racing punter believes that he has expertise. He believes that if he studies the form, makes his assessment and reads all the papers, he will beat the bookmaker. That is entirely his business. If one goes into Strutton Ground market any morning, one sees the dear ladies nipping in to put a bob or two not only on horse racing, but on greyhound racing, which ought to be covered by the Bill. That is all part and parcel of a trend in leisure. It is not a question of addiction ; professional gamblers are different from the ordinary punter. We should be aware of the changing times.
Mr. Kilfoyle : My hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Cunliffe) said that the pools were a form of gambling and I noticed that some Conservative Members seemed to agree. Those of us who were members of the Committee which considered the National Lottery etc. Bill were told that the pools were a game of skill rather than gambling. I ask my hon. Friend to make a distinction. There is what happens on a course, including getting the maximum use from it and financing it. I understand the problem ; as my hon. Friend pointed out, it applies to many different activities. That is different from the bookies crying out in the sticks because they will make an absolute fortune through the betting shops opening on Sunday. Sunday opening will increase the amount of gambling and will not shift gambling from mid-week.
Mr. Cunliffe : I have no scruples about the point made by my hon. Friend. I would tax the bookies' income further and further. For years and years, they have not made a substantial enough contribution to the industry through the levy. I would back my hon. Friend tooth and nail in saying that the bookies should make a greater contribution. If their income increases, they must pay more and at a higher rate. The matter will have to be looked at and I hope that the new horse racing board, the relevant Ministers--the matter may require the Home Secretary's decision--and all those involved will take note of our point. I accept that there is a difference between those who have a flutter and the professional punter.
Mr. Dennis Turner (Wolverhampton, South-East) : To take up my hon. Friend's point about greyhound racing, my understanding is that the new clause would embrace greyhound racing on Sunday. Will my hon. Friend confirm that we are talking not just about horse racing, but about greyhound racing ?
Mr. Cunliffe : I am talking about what is encompassed in the Bill. Because I was away last week at the Council of Europe, I have not had time to study the Bill in detail, but I accept that it would be wrong to discriminate between the greyhound racing industry and the horse racing industry. We swould give the Minister 100 per cent. support if he were receptive to the suggestion that greyhound racing should be included.
"greyhound racing would like to be treated in precisely a similar manner as horse racing. We are pleased to see that new Clause 1 as drafted would indeed have that effect."
I hope that that answers the hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Lord : The hon. Gentleman talked about social trends and the way in which we had to go with the tide. Does he not acknowledge that the House has some part to play in the way in which the tide flows ? Does he also take the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) that some of us have great difficulty with this matter ? There is the question of allowing racing, and all that happens at the course, and there is the impact of betting shops being open on Sundays in all the towns and villages in the country. That is the difficulty for us.
Mr. Cunliffe : I understand the difficulty. As with the national lottery, it is not possible to forecast precisely the trends about which the hon. Member for Suffolk, Central and the right hon. Member for Honiton are concerned. Our friends the bookies are crying their eyes out because they claim that the national lottery will take 10 per cent. of their income. That is absolute nonsense. The bookies can do all the market research in the world. The punter--the professional boy--will be there and the amateur punter will be there anyhow. It will be his wife who will put a couple of quid on the lottery. The bookmakers bellyache all the time. Everyone knows that no one can accurately forecast the effect of the national lottery, and no one should have the effrontery to say what the effect on income and social trends of Sunday racing will be.
I welcome the initiative by the all-party racing and bloodstock group. I-- and my forefathers before me--condemned the exclusive Jockey Club. No one could remove the veil over its decision-making. We had no input and the Jockey Club did not like intrusions. That has gone. Thank goodness for the initiative that has come from the new board and especially from Lord Hartington. That initiative has been complimented by the whole industry.
We now have an established horse racing board which can balance all the elements of the industry ; it has balanced the elements correctly on this occasion. Whether it means the bookies paying more or somebody else paying less, the board is opening new doors to bring democracy and, for the first time, accountability to the job. That was unheard of in the past, but that is what we are doing today. All those people with worries, fears and anxieties are not necessarily wrong. I would not say that ; it would be too presumptuous. There is a concern. It is up to us to manage it correctly and to demand accountability where it is required.