ukactive has renewed its calls for VAT cuts ahead of rising energy costs from April 2022. CEO of ukactive has argued that the VAT exemption would offer the activities, fitness, and sports sectors a similar level of support offered to the hospitality and tourism sectors during the pandemic.
ukactive CEO Huw Edwards has written a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak detailing his organisations’ predictions for the future. ukactive predicts that energy costs for fitness and leisure facilities could be 100% larger than in years past. This could lead to operators raising prices, reducing services, or temporarily closing facilities.
Many operators have already faced huge financial pressures, he added:
“Rising energy costs will disproportionately impact our sector – particularly larger, energy-intensive gyms and leisure centres with swimming pools – which are now at risk.”
“Our members will want to avoid passing on these cost pressures to their customers, especially given the rise in the cost of living, but this might become unavoidable.”
With rising costs affecting some of the poorest families, many may choose to forgo physical activity due to the expense. Despite the need for further clarification as to the role of the sector in the Levelling Up agenda, plans to improve resilience and support for community sport could drastically affect their impact.
The 100% increase in costs is based on their 2019 levels. Community Leisure UK, for example, estimates a 113% increase in energy costs, from 1.5m in 2019 to 3.2m.
Edwards also flagged the upcoming Commonwealth Games, saying:
“We don’t want to see a situation where vital community facilities continue to struggle to operate while we prepare to host the Commonwealth Games this summer.”
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