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ukactive has issued the following response to the welfare reform speech made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today (19 April) 

 Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The Prime Minister’s speech today on mental health and economic inactivity rightly highlighted how our national health and wellbeing is a key determinant of work, productivity, and economic growth.  

“However, Rishi Sunak’s emphasis on the mechanics of determining mental health fails to address the fundamental issue that, by most indicators, our national health has notably deteriorated.  

“What the Government should be setting out today is a bold plan for improving our national health and wellbeing, utilising the industries and sectors that can support improvements in mental health. The role of physical activity, sport, and recreation should be fundamental to this.  

“ukactive’s recent research with Savanta showed that 78% of respondents said improving their mental health and wellbeing – including managing anxiety and/or depression – was an important factor in their decision to join a gym.  

“Physical activity plays a critical role in preventing physical and mental ill health, and the sector is already demonstrating its ability to support people back into the workplace, through programmes such as MSK (musculoskeletal) hubs. 

“If the Government is serious about reducing economic inactivity, it should also be focussing on prevention of ill-health by unlocking the potential of the physical activity sector to deliver on the ambitions set out in the Get Active strategy. 

“We urge the Prime Minister to look not just at the system but also the solutions to addressing the health and wellbeing problems that run like fault lines through our communities.” 

ukactive will review the Government’s consultation once it is live and engage ukactive members for input. 

To read the Prime Minister’s speech, click here. 

To find out more about ukactive’s research with Savanta, click here.