Greater financial support and regulatory measures needed for physical activity sector
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Greater financial support and regulatory measures needed for physical activity sector

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The physical activity sector is in need of bespoke and substantial financial support in order for it to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry body ukactive.

gyms, sports facilities and leisure centres across the UK have been forced to close their doors thanks to the latest lockdowns – and those in Tier 4 areas had already shut prior to Christmas.

January and February are traditionally a vital period for gyms, as people look to start the year with a fitness regime.

Among the measures which ukactive wants to see are a change in the VAT regime and a guarantee that business rates are put on hold beyond the current deadline of March 2021.

“Our sector needs a VAT rebate – resulting in an effective output tax of 10 per cent – an extension of the business rate holiday for physical activity and leisure providers beyond March 2021, and financial support for operators for back-dated rent which will be due once the moratorium ends," said Huw Edwards, ukactive CEO.

“Both public and private fitness and leisure operators will require much greater, tailored financial and regulatory support for their recovery, especially in light of the latest national lockdown, which comes at the worst possible time for gyms and leisure facilities which rely on January trade.

“Gyms and leisure centres throughout the UK will find it unsustainable to operate on zero income with this limited funding. The current measures do not go far enough, and as the length of lockdown is not yet determined, it makes it impossible to plan for when revenue will start to come in again.

“We are in dialogue with the Government to provide the latest impact modelling of this lockdown but the sector is on a cliff edge and more support needs to be given.”

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The physical activity sector is in need of bespoke and substantial financial support in order for it to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry body ukactive.
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