Mental Health in racing report will help shape NTF services

Yesterday was the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and we were at Windsor Racecourse for an event to publicise the findings of a report commissioned by Racing Welfare about mental health in British horseracing. It can be found here on Racing Welfare’s website.

Over the last twelve months, the NTF has highlighted researcher Will McConn’s interaction with trainers and other groups whose collective efforts make racing happen. Thank you to all the trainers who spoke to Will and took part in forums.

According to the research reported yesterday, 76% of trainers surveyed said that they felt the industry provided inadequate support for their mental health.  We will be using the report’s recommendations, along with those from the Horseracing MBA report on Occupation Stressors for Trainers, to shape future NTF services for our members.

At the same time, we would encourage you to make the most of our existing services, many of which address issues raised in the report. For instance, debt collection and management was a key theme for trainers. Applying the advice available in the Business Section in the members area of the NTF website should avoid many debt problems. These include credit management advice and services, debt recovery through the Legal Expenses Insurance scheme, and Weatherbys Invoice Payment Service. 

Don’t be fooled by dubious business rates advisors

We have been told about a trainer who was visited by a person from a ‘Rating and Valuation Company’ suggesting that they could get the rateable values of stables in Lambourn almost halved based on a property in the nearby village of Chilton Foliat. It is likely that the suggested comparable property was in fact a livery yard as they are valued at the level quoted by this person.

You should be very wary of approaches of this kind and we recommend trainers to only use the services of a Chartered Surveyor, not least because they are not permitted to ask for the fee of £895 up front which was the case in this instance.

As you know, Christopher Marriott is the NTF’s retained advisor for Non-Domestic Rates. He has a huge amount of experience dealing with the Valuation Office and the idiosyncrasies of rateable values of training premises. You can contact him at Marriotts Property LLP on 01367 242422.

RIABS contributions increase from 1st April

Due to the increasing cost of claims the trustees of the Racing Industry Accident Benefit Scheme (RIABS) have decided to raise the weekly contribution per employee from £5.24 to £6.00. As you know, the contribution is shared equally between employer and employee.

Although this is a sizeable increase, it should ensure that the scheme meets its obligations without having to review contributions again for some time. RIABS is managed by the NTF for the trustees; the weekly benefit is run as a mutual fund so surpluses are retained within the scheme to pay claims in future years.

Legal helplines answered by specialist legal team

Now members have agreed the full renewal of the NTF’s Legal Expenses Insurance policy, we thought it worth clarifying that the helplines are answered by specialist lawyers, not a call centre.

The NTF has two legal helplines for trainers.  The employment law helpline in the first instance goes through to our in house legal executive, Dawn Bacchus. When she is not available the call is diverted to Knights plc solicitors where a specialist employment solicitor will be available to advise.  We have been working with Knights plc since 2014 and they understand the training business as well as the law.

The second helpline is for non-employment calls and goes direct to Knights plc in the first instance.  Calls to this helpline have included advice on contract disputes, property and ownership issues and their litigation solicitors are undertaking cases for NTF members through the NTF legal expenses insurance.

Weatherbys moves documentation online

Weatherbys have asked us to convey the information below to our members.

As part of the BHA’s efforts to modernise and reduce the costs of racing administration, from the beginning of May, many hard copy letters currently received by owners and trainers will be moving online. While you are not required to take any action, we wanted to make sure you understand the changes.

What is moving online?

From 1st May, invoices for BHA racing accounts and VAT summaries for all ownership types (including Sole owners, Companies, Partnerships, Syndicates and Racing Clubs) will be available to view online via the Racing Admin system.

For the avoidance of doubt, if you have a Weatherbys bank account as opposed to a BHA racing account, the way you receive your statements will not change, but your VAT summaries may move online as described below.

What does this mean for me?

As all trainers already have access to the new Racing Admin system, you will be able to view your invoices and VAT summaries online. This will include those for any Partnerships you are involved in, plus any Syndicates and Racing Clubs you manage. Your hard copy invoices and summaries will be replaced by monthly emails notifying you when these are ready to view online.

If your VAT summaries are currently delivered to a VAT agent, they will continue to receive these in hard copy.

What other improvements are being introduced?

In addition to the move online, invoices and VAT summaries are being aligned to cover the same dates each month, and their layout improved to make them easier to understand and utilise. For more information on these changes please visit support.racingadmin.co.uk.

Do I need to take any action? While there is no need for you to take any action in order to enjoy these improvements, if there is a reason why you need to continue receiving hard copy invoices and VAT summaries, or you would like further information, please contact the Accounts Team via racingfinance@weatherbys.co.uk.

Scheme for EU nationals to register settled status

If you have employees who are EU citizens (or you are an EU citizen), they will need to register for the Settlement Scheme to get either settled or pre-settled status. Ensure that they feel supported and can discuss any concerns they may have. If they have any queries then contact us or the employee could speak direct to NARS.

The scheme is free and simple to use via a brand new online application process. It enables EU citizens to protect the rights they currently have in the UK. Applicants will only need to prove their identity, demonstrate their UK residence, and declare any criminal convictions. The application process has been thoroughly tested since August 2018 and so far nearly 200,000 people have received status under the scheme.

Deal or no deal, EU citizens will have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply.

Employees will need to have a valid passport and valid ID.  We understand that some EU national passport renewals have very lengthy waiting times so it would be sensible to suggest to your EU employees that if they are considering a Settlement application they should check the status of their passport and the turnaround times for passport renewal for their country to avoid any last minute rush or delay.

Additional information or support about the EU Settlement Scheme is available from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. The centre is open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm, excluding public holidays, and on Saturday and Sunday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

Telephone number from inside the UK: 0300 123 7379

Registration of trailers after 29th March 2019

The UK has not traditionally required the registration of trailers. A trailer unit, whether a large commercial unit or smaller private use trailer, has only needed to display the plate bearing the registration mark (commonly known as the registration number) of the registered towing vehicle. Trailer registration is commonplace throughout much of continental Europe and it is often compulsory to display the separate registration number of the trailer.

From 28 March 2019, the same date as the 1968 Convention comes into force for the UK, it will be prohibited to use unregistered trailers in certain categories on international journeys to, or through, a foreign country that has ratified the 1968 Convention. This prohibition applies to commercial trailers with a gross weight over 750kg and all trailers with a gross weight over 3,500kg. Unregistered trailers may also be subject to enforcement action while abroad from this date.

The registration system is operated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The fee to register a trailer is £26. This scheme will be introduced regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the EU as the 1968 Convention will be coming into force for the UK in any event. Detailed information can be found here on the Government website.