Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan helpful but more needed to help sport and recreation recover

members icon
grassroots footabll ()

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has responded to the statement made by the Chancellor on Thursday 24 September.

Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Alliance said: “We welcome the Winter Economy Plan announced by the Chancellor. The Job Support Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extension should provide some continued support for workers and self-employed in the sport and recreation sector although it is not yet clear if these measures will be enough to protect the many viable jobs and businesses in the sector which have been so badly hit.

“We also welcome extensions to the various loan schemes and the introduction of a new payment scheme for deferred VAT which should provide more flexibility.

“However, it is disappointing that the Chancellor has not taken the opportunity to extend the reduced rate of VAT to the sport and recreation sector.

“As we have previously stated, a reduction for sport and recreation would provide a real financial boost at a crucial time and, although there is not yet a firm date for the return of fans to stadia, applying the reduced rate to tickets would allow fans to buy forward for events in the future.

“But we really need a comprehensive solution. That is why we are calling for a Sports Recovery Fund to protect jobs and facilities so that the sector can survive and stabilise and be in a position to deliver on the government’s commitments to rebuild and level up the country.

“Without this package we face the real prospect of community sports clubs and facilities being forced to close for good.

“The loss of these clubs and facilities will have a devastating impact on the nation’s recovery and on communities in every constituency. Our facilities and clubs are not something that can be rebuilt overnight.

“We want sport and physical activity to lead the nation’s recovery from COVID-19. We want to keep community facilities open so that we can provide the opportunities for every single person to become fitter and healthier to combat the pandemic.

“We will continue to work with partners in the sector and the government to find a solution which will provide long-term sustainability for sport, recreation and physical activity.”