Government energy decision a hammer blow for pools and leisure centres10 January 2023
Swimming pools and leisure centres have been dealt a hammer blow after not being designated as ‘energy intensive industries’ by the Government.
This formed part of the recent announcement on the outcome of the review into the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
The Government has revealed that following the conclusion of the current scheme, there will be a new ‘Energy Bills Discount Scheme’ which will come into effect from April 2023 and run for 12 months.
This universal scheme is much less generous than previous support provided and swimming pools and leisure centres have been excluded from extra support.
The Government has not listed swimming pools or leisure centres as one of the ‘energy and trade intensive industries’ which will receive additional government support.
Responding to the news, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson, said: “This decision by the Government to not provide additional support to swimming pools and leisure centres is a hammer blow and flies in the face of previous statements from the Government about the importance of physical activity and reducing pressures on the NHS.
Government must urgently rethink
“The Government must review this decision immediately.
“We need transparency from the Government about the criteria used to decide which industries are classed as being ‘energy intensive’.
“It seems incredibly hard to understand how a library is more energy intensive than a swimming pool.
“With bills routinely tripling in price and energy costs typically being the second highest expense for swimming pool owners and operators, they have been consistently warning that without support pools and leisure centres will have to close.
“Sadly, we have already seen a number shutting in recent weeks and in light of yesterday’s decision we will likely only see more and more pools disappearing across all parts of the country – each one a devastating loss for the local community and all those who rely on these facilities for their health and wellbeing.
“The Government must urgently rethink and match their rhetoric around the importance of physical activity with action to provide the support that is so desperately needed to keep these vital facilities open for people to use.
“Failing to do so is just storing up much greater costs for the health and social care system.”