Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 186 - Answered on 21st November, 2013
Clare Daly, TD (Dublin North, United Left):
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question Number 13 of 14 November 2013, and his denial that the Indecon report stated that Exchequer funding to horse racing was unsustainable, if he will explain the meaning of the direct quotes from the report, on p.63, Despite the economic contribution to the sector Indecon does not believe that this level of general exchequer funding is sustainable over time given the pressures on exchequer funding; and on p.17 The dependence on very scarce exchequer resources to the extent which currently exists represents a major strategic vulnerability for the sector, given the current state of public finances. Indecon therefore believes new sources of funding are urgently required to support the industry and to wean the industry of its dependence on Exchequer funding.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney (Cork South-Central, Fine Gael):
The entire paragraph (Indecon Report, 2012 “Review of Certain Aspects of the Irish Horse Racing Industry”, Indecon 2012) from which the Deputy has quoted reads as follows “At present, the Irish Exchequer allocates approximately €30 million per annum in subsidies to the sector, in addition to receipts from Betting Duty. Despite the economic contribution of the sector, Indecon does not believe that this level of general exchequer funding is sustainable over time given the pressures on exchequer resources.”
As I outlined to the Deputy in my response to Question No. 48142/13 my colleague, the Minister for Finance, has introduced the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013 earlier this year which will bring remote and on-line betting within the tax net. This is consistent with the Indecon recommendation which advocated “Measures should be introduced to secure a significant increase in taxation from the Betting Sector.”
The increased revenues from receipts in excise duty on betting will create the potential “to significantly reduce general Exchequer expenditure other than funds raised from betting taxation” as recommended in the Indecon Report (page 64). “Review of Certain Aspects of the Irish Horse Racing Industry”, Indecon 2012
I expect that the new betting legislation combined with actions by the industry aimed at growing commercial income and sponsorship and increasing efficiency through the streamlining of functions will ensure that the funding provided to the horse and greyhound racing industries is sustainable into the future. These industries together are estimated to contribute approximately €1.6 billion per annum in economic output and support in the region of 24,000 jobs principally in rural Ireland.