The UK physical activity sector will lose around £400m a month during lockdown

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The figure, from industry body ukactive, is based on lost membership fees and takes into account existing government support – such as furlough, business rate support and grants.

According to ukactive, the figure is a conservative one, as the timing of the lockdown – in January and February – could mean that losses could be higher, as this is a key period for new joiners and renewals.

ukactive is calling on the government to ensure physical activity facilities will be at “the front of the queue” to reopen, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“The government must protect this sector as a priority before it becomes too late,” said Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.

“January and February represent a vital period for gyms, pools, and leisure facilities to trade but they currently have zero income, unlike other sectors.

“The top-up grants and funding announced by the Chancellor, while welcome, will be no more than a sticking plaster for the financial challenges being faced, and both public and private fitness and leisure operators will require additional, tailored financial and regulatory support for their recovery.”

HCM is seeking to establish the value of government support for the sector and will publish these numbers when they become available.

HCM editor, Liz Terry, has submitted a Parliamentary Petition calling for gyms to be in the first wave of opening after the lockdown.

The petition, which has been accepted by the Parliamentary Petitions Committee, is due to go live in the next two weeks, at which time HCM will report on its progress.

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