Gyms ask for same help as hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Jeremy Wil­son

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.”

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