05 Jul 2017
Ahead of one of the busiest weeks of the year in Newmarket, July Festival week, a new report on the economic impact of the horseracing industry around its international home in Newmarket, Suffolk, has found that the amount racing contributes to the local economy has increased by 16.3% (7.2% after inflation) or almost £34m, over the past four years, according to leading economic research provider SQW.
The figures are published in an update to the independent study commissioned in 2014 by Forest Heath District Council in conjunction with Newmarket Horsemen's Group, which quantified the scale and economic significance of Newmarket's horseracing industry.
The report establishes that the horseracing and breeding industry now makes an annual contribution to the local economy of more than £240m which continues to grow.
As well as revealing growth, the update identifies a ‘sea change’ in efforts to enhance Newmarket’s attractiveness to visitors, with the racing industry’s contribution to the town’s distinctive character being developed for continuing shared prosperity.
Councillor Lance Stanbury, Forest Heath District Council Cabinet member for planning and growth said,
“This updated report underlines the value and the contribution that the horseracing industry makes to our local economy. It also helps to confirm the common benefits that can be derived from a local authority working productively with a major local industry and employer, one example of which is the £15m National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, which we delivered jointly and which is attracting increasing numbers of visitors to our district. I am pleased that the report recognises the strides being made in enhancing the town’s distinctive character
, and I look forward to celebrating more such achievements.’
As well as confirming Newmarket as the home of Thoroughbred racing with real potential for the future, the report update aids understanding of the issues to be managed in delivering future growth in the town. The horseracing industry plays an active role in Newmarket Vision, a group of community partners founded in 2012 out of work supported by the Prince’s Trust, to coordinate different initiatives within the town over the next twenty years.
William Gittus, Chairman of the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group, which represents racing’s interests in the town, said:
“July Festival week in Newmarket provides an insight into the appeal of the racing and breeding industry in Newmarket and the scale of its impact on the local economy. Across the three days of racing, the racecourse will attract around 40,000 people, while the July Sales at Tattersalls will see representatives from over 30 different countries coming to Newmarket with a view to doing business. For the town’s hoteliers July Festival week is in the top five of their busiest weeks of the whole year, including all the major holidays.
“What is significant and encouraging about the report’s update is the on-going growth to over £240m in the industry’s annual contribution for the local economy and how it underlines the importance of protecting the industry, not just what we have at present but also the need to allow for potential further growth and expansion of the town’s largest economic contributor.”
Horseracing is Britain's second biggest spectator sport with Newmarket known as the headquarters of flat racing and responsible for approximately 3600 full time equivalent jobs through direct employment (up 9.5% since 2012) and many more through indirect employment, for example events-related employment at Newmarket Racecourses and Tattersalls sales.
The report confirms racehorse trainers as the leading generators of economic activity within Newmarket and its surrounds (at £118.5m - up 22.3%) followed by stud farms (£88m - up 8.5%). Racing institutions generate nearly £13m annually (up 30.7%) while visitors to Newmarket, primarily attracted by a day's racing at the Rowley Mile or July Course, are calculated to contribute over £9.5m (up - 8.5%) before taking into account any of their expenditure off-course.
Bill Wicksteed, one of the UK’s leading economic researchers and founder of SQW, said:
“A main finding is the continuing and probably increasing international orientation of the horseracing industry cluster. Newmarket is firmly established as one of a small number of international hubs for the racing industry, and several of our interviewees felt that the cluster’s standing has improved, not least in relation to the status of stallions at the major stud farms.”