The Jockey Club is considering a proposal to open Happy Valley racecourse during the summer racing recess for the unemployed to hold flea markets. The plan, which is being discussed by club chiefs, was proposed by the chairman of the Employees Retraining Board, Tam Yiu-chung, who said he contacted the club's senior management early this week. Since last August the board has offered courses to teach the unemployed how to start their own businesses to survive the economic downturn. The racecourse is an ideal location for the board's students to hold flea markets as it is close to the Causeway Bay commercial district, he said. Mr Tam is also a member of the Legislative and Executive councils. A spokeswoman for the Jockey Club said last night the club in principle supported the plan. But a series of issues needed be tackled - for example the maintenance work schedule at the racecourse during the summer recess between July and August. Mr Tam said senior club management had agreed that the opening of the racecourse for students from the retraining board would be free. 'The scheme will hopefully start in July with a few hundred people being able to set up stalls,' Mr Tam said. About 70 per cent of companies will keep their present staff levels and pay scales and believe it wise not to invest or expand this year, a survey has found. About 70 per cent of respondents believe economic prospects remain uncertain, while sales and profits will either remain unchanged or drop slightly. Sponsorship Consultants interviewed a total of 727 small and medium-sized companies involved in the information technology, accounting and manufacturing sectors last month.