Budget leaves fitness industry with unanswered questions, says Huw Edwards
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
Competitive
Keswick, UK
Actif Sport and Leisure
£19,312* Fixed Point *Pro-rata
Amman Valley Leisure Centre
LeisureForce
IRO £3,500+ per month
East Coast of Saudi Arabia
The Lansdowne Club
Uncapped Earning Potential
Mayfair, London, UK
CEO
Moray Sports Foundation
Package circa £60k
Moray Sports Centre, Elgin, Scotland

Budget leaves fitness industry with unanswered questions, says Huw Edwards

Job opportunities
University College School
£21,000
location: Hampstead, London, UK
more jobs

The budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing to continue to fight for additional support, says huw edwards, CEO of ukactive.

Edwards said the lack of targeted help would put the future of some fitness facilities and businesses "under threat".

“Today’s Budget statement falls short in confirming the necessary financial support required for the survival and recovery of our nation’s gyms, pools and leisure centres," Edwards said.

“It's important to acknowledge the broad measures of support open to all sectors, in the shape of extended furlough support, continued business rates relief, and grants for the self-employed.

“We also cautiously welcome the introduction of the restart grants for gyms and other businesses, however, we will require further details of the eligibility of all of our members to access this support and its scale.

"It's critical the Government clarifies that EU State Aid rules do not apply to these grants.

“But the lack of further measures of support for gyms, pools, and leisure centres places their survival and recovery at great risk, therefore, threatening the future health of our nation.

“There is no evident reason why the VAT reduction has not been extended to our sector, which has been hit equally as hard as other sectors.

“Alongside this decision, there remain unanswered questions on a number of crucial areas, including financial support for back-dated rent, extending the moratorium on commercial evictions, and extending the public leisure recovery fund.

Last month, industry body, ukactive, published six policy calls that were designed to help the industry weather the effects of the pandemic – with a particular focus on helping facility operators survive the continued lockdowns.

Among the policy measures requested from government was an extension to the public leisure relief fund and a reduced, 5 per cent rate on VAT – currently enjoyed by the hospitality and attractions industries – to be implemented across the physical activity sector.

Others included a call for support programmes that address health inequalities and financial support for gym operators for back-dated rent.

• To read more about ukactive's six policy calls, click here

Only one of the six policies, however – an extension to the business rates holiday – was addressed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak when he unveiled the Budget.

Even there the physical activity industry can only claim a partial win, as the government added just three months to the scheme (extending it until June 2021), rather than the 12 months suggested by ukactive.

• To download and read the full Budget document, click here

Edwards said: “We estimate that more than 400 facilities have already closed, with more to follow. Furthermore, our members’ facilities have been losing £90m revenue a week and have had zero income over the series of lockdowns – unlike parts of other sectors that have been provided with bespoke support in this Budget.

“The COVID-19 crisis starts and ends with our health. The tragic level of fatalities and hospitalisations we have witnessed from the virus is influenced by the health inequalities we face.

“Our ability to counter COVID-19 in the long term will depend on our collective health improvements. Gyms, pools and leisure centres are integral to that effort, which makes the lack of bespoke support so worrying.

“These facilities provide essential services that support communities across the country, for example, every year they help 17.1 million people stay active (second only to walking), provide 1.2 million children with swimming lessons, and deliver 66 per cent of all cancer rehabilitation services. Many of these facilities are currently being used as vaccine centres, supporting our national fight against the virus.

“We cannot afford to lose these facilities and we will work with the Government and across Parliament to secure the financial support this Budget falls short of providing.”

Edwards' comments were reflected by those made by Tara Dillon, CEO of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

"It is disappointing not to see any commitment to extending the National Leisure Recovery Fund for supporting public sector facilities," Dillon said.

"The £100m allocated in December was already far less than was needed to protect these vital health services, and we have already seen many closures and job losses as a result. We will work with our partners in the sector to understand what is now needed and push for additional support.”

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
The Budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing to continue to fight for additional support, says Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.
SAR,SWM,HAF,FIT,IND,PTS,PHR,PUB
2021/THUMB347288_892680_859151.jpg

More News

1 - 15 of 43,228
16 Apr 2021
Health clubs and gyms will be able to open their doors to individual training sessions on 30 April. As with other home nations, however, indoor ... More
15 Apr 2021
As health clubs and gyms reopen following lockdowns, it is "absolutely crucial" operators take a tough stance when it comes to enforcing social distancing and ... More
15 Apr 2021
IHRSA and Fitness Brasil say they have signed a partnership agreement that will see the two organisations working together on industry events for 'at least ... More
14 Apr 2021
EuropeActive has joined the All Policies for a Healthy Europe (APHE) initiative, as part of its strategy to increasingly engage with EU health policymaking. Launched ... More
14 Apr 2021
Lack of exercise is a major cause of death from COVID-19, according to new research, with only advanced age and organ transplant leading to greater ... More
13 Apr 2021
World Leisure Organization (WLO) has opened the entry process for its International Innovation Prize. Now in its ninth year, the award celebrates organisations that have ... More
FreeMotion Fitness
FreeMotion Fitness
13 Apr 2021
Alton Towers theme park in the UK will offer visitors the opportunity to indulge in some 80s nostalgia when it launches three "retro" rides this ... More
12 Apr 2021
Health clubs, leisure centres and studios in England have opened today (12 April) for the first time during 2021. Some opened their doors to exercisers ... More
11 Apr 2021
A major new initiative will look to strengthen and unite the fitness industry's voice in influencing policy and policymakers in the US. The National Health ... More
09 Apr 2021
A parliamentary report is calling for a £3bn intervention fund to build back better health as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, ... More
09 Apr 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in visits to the world's top 100 museums and galleries falling by three quarters. According to an annual survey, conducted ... More
09 Apr 2021
Leisure centre operator Everyone Active has formed a partnership with WW (formerly called Weight Watchers), which will see the two combining their exercise and dietary ... More
Venueserve UK Ltd
Venueserve UK Ltd
09 Apr 2021
Adults suffering from chronic pain should be advised to take exercise, rather than be prescribed painkillers, according to new guidance from the National Institute for ... More
08 Apr 2021
As health clubs and fitness studios in England are counting the hours down to reopening day on Monday 12 April, PureGym has announced it will ... More
07 Apr 2021
Empowered Brands, the franchise investment business that acquired énergie Fitness out of a CVA in June 2020, has announced plans to accelerate the roll-out of ... More
1 - 15 of 43,228
Active IQ
Active IQ