Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

The Tote

Culture Media and Sport written statement – made on 21st July 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport)

In my ministerial written statement on 5 March I said that the Government intended to prepare for an open market sale of the Tote, and would take advice on strategic options. I also announced that the overriding criterion for a sale of the Tote would be to maximise value for the taxpayer and that the Government would honour their commitment to return half of the net proceeds of any open market sale to racing subject to the requirements of European state aid and competition rules.

The Government remain of the view that it is appropriate that it removes itself from detailed involvement in the affairs of the racing and bookmaking industries. It is also keen to give certainty to the Tote and its businesses so that they can develop and flourish for the benefit of their staff and racing.

The Government have received preliminary views from its advisers on the strategic options available with regard to the Tote. It is clear that the Tote is a highly attractive asset which would enjoy significant interest if brought to market in an open auction.

However the Government will need to be satisfied that it is right to proceed with a sale in the light of current market conditions. The Government intend to commission detailed work on the Tote to be undertaken during the course of the summer, which would provide the necessary groundwork to launch a sale in the autumn. This work will also provide further data on the company which would enable the Government and the Tote board to consider how best to create further value inside the Tote if, in the light of market conditions, the Government decided in the autumn not to proceed to a sale at that time.

Finally, the Government would like to place on record their warm appreciation of the fortitude and professionalism of the Tote's staff up and down the country at this time. If a sale of the Tote were to proceed the Government would emphasise in any sale documentation and process both the quality of the Tote's workforce and the north-west as an excellent business destination.