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Tracey Crouch - Department for Culture, Media and Sport

On 4th November 2015 the Chair of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (the HBLB) informed me that the HBLB had been unable to approve a recommendation from the Bookmakers Committee as to the terms of the 55th Levy scheme. Under section 1(2) of the Horserace Betting Levy Act 1969 (the Act), it therefore now falls to me to determine those terms. The Act allows me to determine a new scheme for the said period; or direct that the current scheme shall continue to have effect for that period.

I have decided to direct that the current Levy scheme should continue to have effect for 2016/17. In making this Determination I have had regard to the offer made by the Bookmakers Committee, which also proposed that the headline rate of 10.75% was maintained for another year. I also took into account the reasons why the offer was rejected by the HBLB, which is because racing felt that it could not accept the overall proposed package, which included supplementary contributions outside of the statutory Levy.

Any discussions or negotiations about voluntary Levy contributions in respect of offshore remote betting operators are outside the scope of my statutory role in making this Determination. I am aware that such negotiations took place and several bookmakers had undertaken to make wholly voluntary Levy contributions, which would have secured additional funding for racing for the next three years, and I welcome this offer. With the statutory Levy rate now set for next year, I hope that these discussions continue and that an agreement can be reached.

Having concluded the Determination I would like express my disappointment that the HBLB and Bookmakers Committee were not able to agree the Levy scheme and that it has been necessary to refer this matter to Government.

Priti Patel - Department for Work and Pensions

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 7 December 2015 in Brussels. Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to seek a general approach on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on a better gender balance among the non-executive directors of listed companies and related measures.

The Council will receive a progress report on the Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The Council will be invited to adopt draft Council Conclusions on; equality between women and men in the field of decision making, the promotion of social enterprise as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe and on social governance for an inclusive Europe.

The Council will be invited to seek political agreement on a Proposal for a Council Recommendation concerning the integration of the long term unemployed into the labour market.

The European Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2016, the draft Joint Employment Report, the Alert Mechanism Report and also seek the views of Member States on a draft Recommendation of the Council of the Eurozone.

Under any other business, the Presidency will provide an update on progress on EURES and undeclared work. The Commission will present information on the Pact for Youth Employment launched at the summit Enterprise 2020, the European Accessibility Act and measures to advance the equal treatment of LGBTI people. The current Presidency will report on the conferences and initiatives it has organised and the Dutch delegation will present the work programme of their upcoming Presidency.


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