Cross Report

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1989.

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Photo of Mr Richard Holt Mr Richard Holt , Langbaurgh 12:00 am, 15th June 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if any conclusions have yet been reached following the Cross report; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

Lord Cross delivered his arbitration on matters of dispute between the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the Horserace Totalisator Board in 1979. We have had no reason to question the acceptance of the arbitration by both boards since then.

Photo of Mr Richard Holt Mr Richard Holt , Langbaurgh

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who will realise that 10 years of peace are about to be broken. The proliferation of tote facilities at race courses is now seriously jeopardising on-course bookmakers. Ahead of privatisation, in the not-too-distant future, that proliferation could well result in a problem landing on my hon. Friend's doorstep. I ask him, therefore, to look seriously at the present acceleration in the siting of tote facilities at race courses which is driving away small bookmakers.

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

I have enjoyed more or less a decade of detente with my hon. Friend the Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) and I hope that hostilities are not about to break out over this of all issues, which we have discussed on several occasions in a variety of settings over the years.

We look to the levy board for advice on this issue, but we have had no such advice from it. However, I believe that the representative bookmakers association has written to the chairman of the levy board, Sir Ian Trethowan, about this and we await his views with interest.