Mark Whitehead 30 October 2017

Leisure centres 'old and tired’ due to underfunding, council chiefs warn

The Government will miss a chance to transform the nation’s health if it fails to inject new funding into leisure infrastructure in the forthcoming Autumn Budget, councils have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says most council-owned sports halls and swimming pools are at risk of becoming 'old and tired' as budgets are increasingly squeezed.

It says councils are just about managing to keep leisure facilities running but in many cases they are coming to the end of their lifespan.

In its Budget submission to Treasury the LGA is calling on the Government to introduce a £400m funding pot to pay for improvements to infrastructure for health and wellbeing.

It says Investment in leisure infrastructure would get more people physically active and help to tackle some of the major health issues facing the country such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: 'Leisure facilities are the cornerstone of a physically and mentally healthy community and are used by thousands of families every day.

'They get people active and keep them fit and healthy, which in itself is a major long-term cost saving for the country as it prevents the need for treatment further down the line that in turn puts significant extra pressure on social care and NHS services.'

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