The TBA had another busy year in 2010 and this month I would like to ‘play safe’ and dedicate this leader to in-house matters, providing a brief end-of-year report highlighting the TBA’s successes.
Whilst the TBA team continues to do a marvellous job in delivering members’ services and administering the various benefits of membership, for which I thank them, my objective this year, together with the support of my Chief Executive, has focussed on growing the TBA’s role and profile, in ensuring the British breeding industry has an effective first port of call for government agencies, racing bodies and overseas associations. Adopting this approach in 2010 has resulted in the following gains:
- After a hard campaign, the Levy Board Breeders’ Prizes Scheme for 2011 has been retained, albeit at a reduced level.
- Following the General Election the TBA secured a meeting with DEFRA Minister James Paice and his officials, to ensure that thoroughbred breeding featured on the DEFRA officials’ radar. Since then the TBA has used these contacts to raise awareness of concerns affecting members.
- Continuous pressure from the TBA, again with DEFRA and trade ministers, has finally led to the lifting of the 15-year Indian trade restrictions. As a result, Indian breeders and their agents purchased 59 mares valued at £1.4 million at Tattersalls’ December Sale, helping to boost results when the domestic market was under pressure.
- On the back of the profitable Indian trade, the TBA will be working with DEFRA officials to enable British breeders to export horses direct to China, developing appropriate protocols and documentation. This will surely be essential if we are to keep Britain at the forefront of growing international trade.
- Over the past 18 months the TBA has lobbied DEFRA on their Cost and Responsibility Sharing Proposals, and during the summer it was announced that the earlier plan to introduce a tax on all horse owners/keepers would be reviewed. This was a major objective, because we were conscious that our industry would be the prime target, with access to accurate ownership details and a perception that the industry was easily able to pay such a tax.
- The future of the Tripartite Agreement, which allows the free movement of thoroughbred and FEI competition horses between Ireland, France and the UK, is threatened by a challenge from the World Horse Welfare Group on the grounds that misuse of the agreement has provided a method to move slaughter horses unchecked. The TBA produced a well researched report which showed that 8,500 individual annual movements for sales and breeding alone would be affected. This has alerted DEFRA to the need to retain the agreement. The matter is ongoing and will require monitoring.
- Two new committees have demonstrated their effectiveness: the Next Generation Committee has enjoyed a strong first year, with events and promotions now backed up by a website. Under Chairman Peter Mendham, the Bloodstock Taxation Committee’s first task is to update the Bloodstock Taxation Guide last revised by the BHA in 2007. The group will look also at VAT and other fiscal issues with a view to protecting breeders’ interests. This is timely as the European Commission is to challenge the use of lower VAT rate on horses and associated activity enjoyed by many member states.
- This year’s December Sales, with its strong market at the top level, again proves international breeders’ recognition of British racing and breeding as the best in the world.
Looking forward to 2011, which promises to be another demanding year, members can support the TBA in a number of ways: by standing for election to the TBA board or sub-committees, or closer to home, where support is needed on a local level to retain our membership numbers.
Whilst the Association has built up adequate reserves to provide protection against the decline in income, the support of members, via subscription and sales levy contributions, is essential if we are to remain effective and represent breeders’ interests.