Hundreds of leisure facilities are under ‘immediate threat of closure’ due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, English and Welsh councils have warned ministers.
A letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden from chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) culture, tourism and sport board, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the pandemic was affecting facilities’ ability to generate income while they faced ‘ongoing high standing costs’.
The letter, penned as many leisure providers are on the brink of financial collapse, read: ‘If action is not taken now, we risk losing our national leisure and sporting infrastructure – this will have a huge impact on the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing and will cost millions to rebuild or restore these facilities in the future.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘Many providers are in serious trouble and, without urgent government support, there is a real risk that our leisure facilities will disappear.’
In a message to councils, LGA chief executive Mark Lloyd said: ‘If we do not act to save these vital community resources it will cost us much more in the long-term both socially and economically.’