British racing’s top administrators have welcomed Government plans to introduce a financial support package for self-employed workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Nick Rust and Paul Struthers, respective chief executives of the British Horseracing Authority and Professional Jockeys Association, both anticipate the proposed grants will be of significant assistance to racing employees who might otherwise have been facing hardship.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday that the support package – a taxable grant of 80% of a self-employed worker’s individual profits, up to £2,500 a month – will be made available from the beginning of June.
The British racing fixture list is currently shut down until at least the start of May – in line with Government policy to try to minimise the spread of the pandemic – leaving many of those self-employed within the sport, including jockeys, unable to earn a living.
BHA chief executive Rust said: “Self-employed people form an integral part of the racing industry, and we welcome the proposed package of support.
“Racing will now liaise with Government to gain an understanding of the full details of the proposals, including what support is available to self-employed people prior to June.
“In addition, the information will be used to help determine where racing’s own funds will be best allocated to support its workforce.”
Struthers, his counterpart at the PJA, said: “We very much welcome this package of support – which will help jockeys, valets and trainers, as well as other core segments of the industry’s workforce, navigate an extremely challenging period.
“This news comes not a day too soon, because there has been significant uncertainty and concern among our members, and I am sure this has been shared by the many other self-employed individuals in the racing industry.
“While the package is welcomed, there will remain an acute, short-term need. We will now focus our efforts on continuing to work with other racing stakeholders – and utilising our own available funds and support from the IJF (Injured Jockeys Fund) – to provide this short-term assistance that will be required.”
In a statement on Thursday evening, the BHA added: “The industry’s leaders are close to finalising the sport’s wide-ranging submission to Government -which outlines the impact of the shutdown on racing and proposes areas for potential help, as well as the sport’s operational plan.”
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