Lords argue for government support for motorsport

The House of Lords of the British Parliament was the scene last week of a heated debate over whether the government should help to ensure that the British motorsport industry maintains its position as the world leader.

Lord Astor of Hever, President of the Motorsport Industry Association and Baroness Buscombe, the Shadow Minister of Culture, Media and Sport called for urgent assistance for the industry citing the examples of the Italian Ferrari team's current dominance of the F1 World Championship and the French Peugeot equipe's present stranglehold on the World Rally Championship. They also alluded to the growing "brain drain" of motorsport talent from Britain and the very real threat to UK motorsport businesses posed by the Working Time Directive, which will limit the hours people are allowed to work.

The Lords suggested the Government provide more favourable tax treatment on research and development expenditure - similar to that currently available to the aerospace industry, but not the motorsport industry.

The Secretary of State for Industry, Patricia Hewitt, will next week chair the first meeting of her "Motorsport Competitiveness Panel" which is designed to help the growth of the industry.

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