Burnham hands over sale of The Tote to avoid scandal

Andy Burnham, the new Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been forced to hand over responsibility for the sale of state-owned betting operator The Tote because it is based in his constituency.

Story1Andy Burnham, the new Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been forced to hand over responsibility for the sale of state-owned betting operator The Tote because it is based in his constituency.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who had been working with Burnham already, will now oversee the sale.

A DCMS spokesperson says Burnham has withdrawn as “a precautionary measure to avoid any perceived conflict of interest”.

The Tote’s operational headquarters are in Wigan, not far from Burnham’s Leigh constituency, and it was decided that it could be difficult for him to preside over a decision that might result in job losses in the area. The Tote has 650 Wigan-based employees.

Burnham replaced James Purnell, who was moved to head the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), following a cabinet reshuffle last month.

The move was triggered by the departure of Peter Hain, who quit after a row over donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign.

In a further twist, in his previous post as chief secretary to the Treasury, Burnham was in charge of setting the sale price for The Tote. The Treasury had been accused of holding up the sale through indecision.

The Government made a manifesto pledge seven years ago to return The Tote to the ownership of a racing trust.

Last year, the Treasury turned down a joint bid of £330m from the Racecourse and the Racehorse Owners associations. It was then thought that The Tote would be put up for sale on the open market.

Gala Coral chief executive Neil Goulden has already declared a “strong interest” in buying The Tote’s chain of 550 betting shops (MW 10 January).

The DCMS could not say when a decision will be made.

Recommended

Chime wins Olympics integrated advertising account

Marketing Week

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) has appointed the Chime Group to handle its integrated advertising account for the next year. The appointment follows a pitch handled by the AAR. Chime will be responsible for advertising, promotion, digital and PR until March 2009, including the handover ceremonies in Beijing. […]

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now