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ukactive has issued the following full response to the Government’s announcement today (21 December), setting out the latest support measures

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The decision, following hours of confusion, by the Government to omit gyms, pools, and leisure centres from access to new grant support within this financial package is shameful.

“It will lead to businesses that support the health and wellbeing of communities going to the wall.

“It is ignorant of all the evidence provided to the Government on the damaging impact of the existing Plan B measures to these facilities.

“We will work alongside our members and partners to reverse this omission and ensure our members are fully supported and protected, alongside additional support required, such as VAT relief in line with other sectors, furlough support, and extensions to business rates relief and the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

“This is a health crisis, so to dismiss calls for support from these essential organisations that improve people’s health is inexcusable and will lead to our nation’s physical activity levels – which are already in a lamentable state – becoming even worse.

“Looking forward, the Government also needs to recognise that our sector is entering its most crucial operating period. It needs to ensure that the tens of millions of people in this country that depend on these facilities are able to use them, especially as we enter the depths of winter and the impact this has on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“We urge the government to think again.”