25 October 2023
Zahawi backs calls for review of horseracing affordability checks

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on the future of horseracing, Nadhim Zahawi highlights the impact of affordability checks on racecourses such as Stratford-on-Avon and calls for bets placed here on overseas racing to count for the levy.

Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) (Con)

Of course, Stratford-on-Avon racecourse is one such racecourse that has been adversely impacted. I would really welcome the Minister being cognisant of the fact that there is a problem here, when his Department and the Gambling Commission seem to be peddling what I would only describe as drivel about affordability checks being frictionless or racing not being damaged. Clearly, there is damage being done. On the point about how we support racing globally, there is a straightforward lever that we can pull now on the overseas element of the levy—on bets placed here on overseas racing. It is a no-brainer that we should get that done. I think the right hon. Member promised it back in 2018, and it should happen now.

Matt Hancock 

I feel very strongly about this subject, not only because I represent Newmarket but because I had the joy of riding in races at Newmarket. I was the first MP in modern times to win a horserace at Newmarket in 2012. Since then, my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman), who has been an incredible advocate for horseracing and does jumps, which are much harder, has also ridden winners. He always sends me a photograph of him at the winning post. The Minister should note that the fact that another Minister has turned up to support this debate, even though he cannot speak—[Interruption]—although he can cough—shows the strength of feeling on this issue.