Labour considers fresh taxes on Premier League clubs and the betting industry

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(Source: Getty)

The Labour party is considering extending the levy on horseracing profits to all sports, as well as bets placed online.

Furthermore, the party may place new taxes on Premier League football clubs to pay for more grassroots football, should it win the general election in 2015.

The current levy on gross profits made by betting firms on horseracing stands at 10 per cent, which raised £82m last year. The coalition government has already extended the levy to overseas bookmakers.

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman will argue at the London Aquatics Centre that a "proper levy" is required from the sale of clubs television rights. Labour also claims the extension of the levy on horseracing profits could pay for the reintroduction of two hours of sport for all primary school children.

The proposals are to be included in Labour's More Sport for All consultation. The party's deputy leader will voice concerns that since London hosted the Olympics in 2012, participation in sport among young people has gotten worse and that hopes for an Olympic legacy have undershot expectations.

Ms Harman will say: "Labour wants to help everybody to do more sport and physical activity - from children to the elderly, girls as well as boys and people from all backrounds and regions."

She will add: "We need strong government leadership to create a long-term innovative plan for sport and that is what this consultation seeks to do."

However, fears have already been raised that Labour's intention to "get tough" on top football clubs with higher levies will lead to costs being passed on to consumers in the form of higher ticket prices.

Christopher Snowdon, director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented: "The government already makes a fortune from taxes on gambling and has recently increased the tax rate on fixed odds betting terminals. It's bad enough that the government keeps squandering money on glorified sports days in the vain hope of creating a 'legacy' without Harriet Harman using them as an excuse to raise taxes still higher."

The Labour party is also considering new targets for female participation in sport, as well as raising the number of women on boards of sporting organisations. Labour's continued push for new taxes on the betting industry marks a stark shift from the policy of moderate liberalisation pursued by the previous government.

Last year, Ed Miliband condemed the spread of betting shops as "an epidemic along high streets with the pawn shops and and pay day lenders." However, the Labour leader's claims that betting shops represented a serious problem have been questioned since the number of bookies rose by just 4.5 per cent between 2000 and 2012, after falling to an all time low.

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