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MEP warns Brexit could put Fakenham horse racing jobs in jeopardy

PUBLISHED: 11:36 22 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 22 October 2017

Alexandra Mayer MEP at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

Alexandra Mayer MEP at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

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A Member of the European Parliament was in Fakenham on Friday to warn of the impact that leaving the European Union could have on jobs related to horse racing.

Action from the racing at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt Action from the racing at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

On the day that the Fakenham races got underway, MEP Alex Mayer met with managers, owners and trainers to discuss the damage that a poor Brexit deal may have on their industry.

Her concerns are centred on a tripartite agreement between France, Ireland and the UK that allows freedom of movement for race horses.

The agreement pre-dates the creation of the European Union but it has subsequently been assimilated into the EU structure.

If an effective deal it not negotiated when the UK leaves the EU it could put the industry under threat due to the cost of moving horses and the need for certification from a chamber of commerce.

Race goers at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt Race goers at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

Ms Mayer said that when she arrived at Fakenham Racecourse she could instantly see just how many people in the town could be affected if the UK does not successfully negotiate a deal for horse racing.

“When I was there I saw people taking money at the gates, I saw people selling goods from stalls, catering staff, the betting industry, not to mention those directly employed such as the jockeys. If the racehorses cannot move easily between the European countries then all of that is at threat and that means job losses in Fakenham.”

She added that when she spoke to people at the racecourse she found some were not aware that Brexit meant the tripartite deal was under threat.

“I think this is part of the issue with Brexit, there are some really obvious implications on the big picture level and people know about these concerns and can lobby the government on them but then there are also the little issues within industries.

“In the horse racing world many people don’t even know we have this agreement.”

David Hunter, chief executive at Fakenham Racecourse, called thoroughbred horse breeding and racing a multibillion pound business in the UK and Europe, and a major employer.

“Maintaining the free movement of thoroughbreds within Europe along with common transport, health and welfare policies are the British Racing industry’s major objectives from the Brexit process,” he said.

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