Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Press Release on Planned Privatisation of the Tote

The Campaign for Public Ownership opposes unequivocally the government’s plans to privatise the state-owned bookmaker, the Tote. For 80 years, the Tote has enjoyed a monopoly of horse-race pool betting in exchange for a guarantee that its profits are ploughed back into the sport. The arrangement has helped make British racing what it is today - a compelling, richly varied pageant which enhances the lives of millions of people. No one in racing is calling for The Tote to be privatised. On the contrary, most people in racing are appalled at the government’s plans. The Tote is no inefficient loss-making enterprise, on the contrary it is inherently profitable and, in its 80 years of existence, it has never taken a penny from the government in subsidy. The Tote should be kept in public ownership and be allowed to continue serving the public- and racing- in the way it has done so well since its formation 80years ago.

“The privatisation of the Tote demonstrates just how wedded to neoliberal dogma New Labour is. When a Labour government tries to sell off an institution that was set up by the Tory government of Stanley Baldwin - and which escaped even the attentions of the serial privatising Margaret Thatcher - you realise how far down the road to market fundamentalism we have travelled.”

Neil Clark, The Guardian.

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