Government has ‘unique opportunity’ to recognise sport’s ‘important’ role7 October 2021
Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson says the Government has a ‘unique opportunity’ to recognise the important role sport and physical activity can play in all aspects of society.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his Spending Review plan for the next three years on Wednesday 27 October.
Swim England has submitted evidence to the Treasury calling for investment in swimming to help support efforts to level up communities, reduce pressures on the NHS and move towards net-zero emissions by funding new environmentally-friendlier facilities to replace ageing pools.
The recognised national governing body’s Decade of Decline report has highlighted a huge reduction in the number of pools across the country by 2030 unless urgent action is taken.
Jane said the need for investment in facilities has never been more crucial.
She said: “Swimming has so much to contribute to many of the challenges facing society, and can support the Government to achieve a number of its ambitions.
“However, we can’t do it without the pools we need for the future.
“Investing in pools also makes financial sense. Older pools are often much less economically sustainable, regularly placing a burden on local authorities already short of money.
Multiple returns on investment
“By building newer pools, they can reduce the burden on the public purse by producing substantial cost savings.
“With every £1 invested in community sport delivering £4 back to the economy, investing in sports like swimming provides multiple returns on investment for the Government.
“The Spending Review presents a unique opportunity for the Government to really recognise the important role sport and physical activity can play in levelling up, reducing health inequalities and reducing pressures on the health and social care system in particular.”
Swim England has called for £1billion of investment into new facilities to ensure there is enough water space for all the population in the future.
Almost 75 per cent of local authorities in England are forecast to be short of at least one swimming pool by 2030.
The organisation is also calling for long-term funding for PE and school sport to enable improvements to school swimming and water safety, helping ensure all children leave school with this invaluable life skill.
Swim England also pushed in its evidence for direct investment for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to improve access to outdoor swimming opportunities up and down the country in support of the millions of people who enjoy swimming in open water.