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The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG) cautiously welcomes the Chancellor’s announcements at yesterday’s Autumn Statement, which seeks to prioritise the country’s economic growth.

The Chancellor wants his Autumn Statement to be the catalyst for driving economic growth and productivity in the UK, and fundamental to this ambition is improving our national health, especially for people of working age.

While there remains an absence from the Government of a comprehensive public health strategy covering all ages and backgrounds to address our nation’s poor health, the Autumn Statement contains several announcements that could support the growth and development of parts of our sector, particularly the Back to Work Plan, Levelling Up funding, and reducing taxes for the self-employed.

Improving economic growth depends on increasing the nation’s productivity and to do that we need to prioritise a healthier society. The number of people unemployed due to a health condition is 2.6 million, up by half a million (almost 25 per cent) since the pandemic.

The role of the sport, recreation and physical activity sector in powering economic growth was recognised in the Government’s ‘Get Active’ strategy, which committed to working closely with the sector to explore new ways to boost activity levels.

It is time to back the sector fully to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for physical activity, and to truly make this an Autumn Statement for growth.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement on extending business rates support, which comes after intense lobbying  from ukactive and partners, as well as funding to help people with long-term conditions back into employment.

“Our members continue to face high operating costs, as set out in our latest evidence, so continued support from the Government remains crucial for the protection of public services.

“We await further details on how the measures in the Statement relate to our sector, including how the Back to Work Plan utilises gyms, pools and leisure centres, and how stimulating demand for these services can create the healthy workforce to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for economic growth and reducing the burden on the NHS.

“As the NSPG outlined earlier this year, there is huge potential for the sector to support Government ambitions to make the UK healthier and more productive.

“The sector is now calling for the Government to realise the potential of physical activity and engage with our organisations on a cross-departmental level to make the most of this opportunity.”

Read more about ukactive’s most recent lobbying work in our News section, here and here.

About the National Sector Partners Group

This release is issued on behalf of a coalition of lead representative bodies from across the sport, recreation and physical activity sectors:

  • Active Partnerships
  • Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)
  • Sport for Development Coalition
  • Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • ukactive
  • Youth Sport Trust

Through our collaborative work as sector partners, we aim to engage decision makers to improve the operating landscape for the sector and embed sport, recreation and physical activity as a key contributor to wider public policy objectives.

As part of wider work through the National Sector Partners Group (NSPG), we recently published Unlocking the Potential which sets out how sport, recreation and physical activity can be integral to successfully delivering a number of key Government priorities including Levelling Up, driving economic growth, achieving Net Zero and supporting the NHS. The report also proposes a range of systemic interventions including access to investment, tax and regulatory changes and wider policy reform which the coalition believes are key to maximising this role.