Cornavirus pandemic: MPs support decision to suspend racing

Sat 21 Mar 2020

MPs Conor McGinn and Laurence Robertson have called on the Government to “recognise racing’s responsible actions” in suspending the sport during the coronavirus pandemic.

McGinn, who represents St Helens North, and Tewkesbury MP Robertson are co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Racing and Bloodstock Industries.

They have written a letter outlining their support of the industry during the current crisis, hailing the “difficult but correct decision” to halt racing until the end of April and asking the Government to play “its role in securing the future and sustainability” of the sport.

The letter, published with permission by the British Horseracing Authority, read: “These are unprecedented times that require the whole nation and government to work together to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

“In dealing with the economic crisis that accompanies it, much has rightly been made of the urgent need for the Government to support the leisure, hospitality, entertainment and retail sectors, and protect jobs.

“We are clear that the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the horse racing and betting industries must represent a key part of that; from racecourses such as Cheltenham and Haydock in our constituencies, to training and breeding yards and jockeys, as well as bookmakers on high streets across the country. The financial security and jobs of the people who work in racing and all its component parts is paramount.

“As joint chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Racing and Bloodstock, we supported the difficult but correct decision to suspend racing. It was the only reasonable course of action to take for the public good, in the national interest and to preserve the longer-term reputation and positive image of our sport.

“We are now calling on the Government to recognise racing’s responsible actions by playing its role in securing the future and sustainability of our great sport, which makes such a significant financial, cultural and social contribution to our country.

“We will now, as always, be fully behind racing in the extremely challenging and uncertain times ahead.”

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