In April, MPs were briefed on the effect that rising energy prices would have on the UK’s already struggling swimming pools. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming heard how energy costs of up to 150% were forcing price increases or possible closures.
Swimming is an essential skill, and schools Pupil Premium spend is dependent on their using the fund for swimming skills. Active Nottingham, for example, has released a book to encourage parents to plan their first swimming trip in line with this learning goal.
Organisations including ukactive, Swim England, swimming pool owners and operators joined forces to warn MPs of their danger. Research released by ukactive has shown that the total energy bill for the leisure sector has risen from £500 million in 2019 to £1-£1.2 billion this year. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said:
“Our members want to avoid passing on these cost pressures to their customers, especially given the rise in the cost of living, nor do they want to restrict services or close, but these outcomes are growing more likely every day that the Government does not act.”
They were united in calling for the government to make changes to protect users. For users in lower socio-economic groups, the changes are most devastating, with many likely to opt-out of attending local swimming pools. Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said:
“We know the huge role swimming plays in the health and wellbeing of the nation – the physical and mental health benefits of swimming for people of all ages are many and are undoubted. Swimming saves the NHS and social care system a minimum of £357 million per year.”
To find out more about the impact of the energy crisis on the leisure sector, see here.