Gyms ask for same help as hospitality and tourism
The Government has been urged to introduce vouchers and tax breaks in the health and fitness sector, as it has in tourism and hospitality, ahead of the reopening next week of gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools.
Community Leisure UK and Ukactive, which represent public and private facilities, have launched a #saveleisure campaign and warned that the nation is “sleepwalking” towards a mass loss of sports centres.
After the Government provided a £1.6billion bail-out for the arts, the sector is asking for £773million to safeguard public leisure centres and swimming pools.
Considerable challenges are also being faced by private operators and, although many gyms will reopen a week on Saturday, the Government is being urged to provide the sort of added assistance through vouchers or tax breaks that it has for the hospitality sector.
“Oliver Dowden [the Culture Secretary] mentioned that he wants us to ‘work out to help out’ and in the same way that people are being incentivised to visit restaurants and takeaways, they need to be given the same incentives to work out and support our sector,” said Neil Randall,
Anytime Fitness chief executive. “It seems to make no sense that people are being encouraged and financially incentivised to eat potentially unhealthy meals but not to exercise and improve their health.”
PureGym has already reopened hundreds of centres across Europe over the past six weeks. Stephen Rowe, chief marketing officer, said: “We are seeing visit levels in line with previous years but members are coming at less busy times.”