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ukactive has issued the following statement in response to the Chancellor’s announcement on changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (29 May)

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The Chancellor’s extension of the furlough recognises the essential role it has played in retaining jobs through this pandemic. However, it is important to remember not all businesses have suffered through this equally.

“Asking businesses who have had no income for five months to contribute to wages under the furlough scheme is a guarantee of redundancies.

“The physical activity sector has made extensive use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has helped to protect jobs since closure was mandated on 20 March.

“With no income since then, it is imperative the Government continues to support the sector, or all the jobs retained since then will be lost. As such there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the changes to the scheme.

“We continue to work with the Government on the reopening of gyms and leisure facilities, supported by the recommended framework for reopening safely which ukactive has provided to Government.

“If gyms and leisure centres are not allowed to reopen before having to make contributions on 1 August, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost, with the potential for thousands of facilities to go out of business.

“The support for part-time furloughing is welcome, as per our call for the Government last month, but this support must recognise the precarious nature of the sector after many months of closure.

“ukactive is committed to working with the Government to develop a solution for all those businesses mandated to cease trading, so the physical activity sector can return to its crucial role following this pandemic.”