Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Editor’s Pick

UK gyms, pools and leisure centres on financial ‘cliff edge’ without support

Gyms, pools and leisure centres are facing a “huge cliff edge” and urgently need more government support as the impact of the third lockdown starts to bite, a parliamentary committee has been told.

Leading figures in the sector also warned MPs the “devastating effect” of leisure facilities being permanently shut risked a return to the Victorian ages – with children from working class and diverse backgrounds finding it harder to become Team GB Olympians.

Rebecca Passmore, the managing director of PureGym – which has more than 1.1 million members – said that while the fitness sector had benefited from the furlough scheme, another 60-90 days of lockdown would put many businesses at risk.

“Gyms have had no income for 34 of the last 54 weeks,” she told MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport select committee. “We have had no revenue coming in. We haven’t been able to do click-and-collect or takeaways. It’s clearly taking its toll on operators. Balance sheets are being pushed to their limits.”

That message was echoed by Rich Emerson, the chief executive of the Climbing Academy, who warned MPs: “I think there is a real risk to the whole industry. We’ve seen incomes stopped, our costs remain, we’ve seen our balance sheets eroded and our cash go out the door.”

Emerson urged the government to apply the same VAT rules to the physical active sector as it does the hospitality industry, which has had to pay the government only 5% of the 20% VAT it has collected in lockdown.

Meanwhile Passmore called on the government to extend the rent holiday and to also legislate so that the burden of rent was shared between landlord and tenants during the lockdown.

“There’s this huge cliff edge that’s coming without any legislation,” she said. “I just don’t see how the rules are fair for operators like ourselves and more importantly the smaller, independent owners. They’re going to have to remortgage and, worse still, hand back properties that they’ve pumped their life savings into.

“We have tried to have a dialogue with landlords, but at present only 15% of them have actually come to the table with anything meaningful. Deferrals are not meaningful. What we’re asking for is a landlord and operator share of social responsibility.

“I fear that the sector as a whole is going to suffer from an economic long Covid. Ultimately, we will see over a prolonged period of time operators go out of business, the public will have less places to be able to exercise and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”

That message was backed by the chief executive of ukactive, Huw Edwards, who represents more than 4,000 gyms and leisure centres. He said it was vital the government came up with a plan for three phases – survival, recovery, and development – across 2021. He also warned the loss of potential around physical activity would have an impact on the future successes of the nation in terms of elite performance.

“The people who represent us on the national stage have come from a local pool, a gym, a leisure centre, a local football team,” he told MPs. “And unless we want to go back to Victorian ages and just be represented by a very narrow part of society, we need to preserve these facilities in order to support our elite sport going forward.”

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

News

Infrastructure spending dropped for the fifth straight month in November amid the pandemic. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter STATE SPENDING...

News

By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter THE BICAMERAL Conference Committee on Tuesday approved the bill strengthening the anti-money laundering law, although a key amendment pushed...

News

The Health department on Tuesday reported 1,357 new coronavirus disease 2019 infections, bringing the total to 504,084. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS THE HOUSE Committee...

News

PLDT, Inc. said its fixed broadband download speeds have improved by 78% in 2020 after expansions and upgrades amid a pandemic crisis. Its wireless...

News

LISTED port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) on Tuesday said it had completed a berth expansion project at the Manila International Container...

News

CEMEX Holdings Philippines, Inc. has positioned its large heating device as it builds the cement production line that would add 1.5 million metric tons...

You May Also Like

When people envision technology overtaking society, many think of The Terminator and bulletproof robots. Or Big Brother in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a symbol...

Financial Advisors

Stock Markets9 hours ago (Jul 02, 2020 04:45AM ET) (C) Reuters. ROME (Reuters) – World food prices rose in June to post their first...

Economy

SAN FRANCISCO — The spread of the coronavirus has meant feast or famine for technology start-ups. While many are cutting staff and slashing costs...

Economy

In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge...

Disclaimer: Respect Investment.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.