“We have been highlighting the perilous financial state that these services are in, along with many independent cultural and sporting organisations and are pleased with the Committee’s recommendation that leisure centres should be given financial support before August."
Responding to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select (DCMS) Committee report on the impact of coronavirus on the Department’s areas of responsibility, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:
“It is positive that the vital contribution that councils’ cultural and leisure services make to our communities’ physical and mental health has been recognised.
“We have been highlighting the perilous financial state that these services are in, along with many independent cultural and sporting organisations and are pleased with the Committee’s recommendation that leisure centres should be given financial support before August.
“Councils are working hard to support as many of our key partner organisations as possible, but their own services have been affected by loss of income, staff affected by COVID-19, and the need to redeploy staff to help the most vulnerable and the shielded.
“In light of the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on tourism, we agree with the Committee’s recommendation that specific support deals are continued, including workforce measures to support freelancers and small companies.
“If funded properly, our cultural and leisure services can play a critical role in the nation’s recovery and the Government should therefore urgently consider these recommendations.”
Councils spend over £1 billion annually to provide their communities with access to leisure facilities
Councils run a third of swimming pools; 31 per cent of grass pitches; almost a fifth of all health and fitness facilities.
In 2018, these sectors contributed more than £224 billion or 11.7 per cent of Gross Value Added (GVA), to the UK economy.
DCMS also oversees some of the fastest growing industries: between 2017 and 2018, the creative industries’ GVA increased by 7.4 per cent, more than five times the growth rate of the UK economy as a whole, which stood at 1.4 per cent. This continued the trend seen since 2010, as illustrated in Figure 1.3