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February 21, 2022

How the physical activity industry is central to the ‘levelling up’ agenda

The physical activity sector will play an essential role in delivering the government’s plans to ‘level up’ the country – namely closing cultural, economic, health and social gaps between the north and the south.

Comments about the contribution physical activity to bring to the levelling up agenda were made by Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, a not-for-profit industry association, which promotes the interest of fitness gyms and leisure centres.

Government’s Levelling Up White Paper

The comments were made following the long-awaited release of the government’s ‘Levelling Up White Paper,’ which sets out plans to make Britain more geographically equal by “spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.”

“The Government’s Levelling Up White Paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the significant economic, social, and health inequalities we need to address as a nation,” said Edwards.

“We’re encouraged that improving both healthy life expectancy and wellbeing are integral to the Government’s bold targets.

“Hitting these targets will require a level of partnership between sectors and government never previously seen and that is especially the case for the overall sport and physical activity sector.

“Increasing physical activity levels must be at the heart of this push for a healthier UK,” Edwards added.

The UK Active CEO contends that there are two things the government needs to do in relation to physical activity to achieve it levelling up ambition.

Addressing insufficient support

One is to address the issue of insufficient support for pools, clubs, leisure centres and gyms, which continue to struggle because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Without addressing this issue, Edward says, the government “cannot deliver key issues of its levelling up agenda.”

Secondly, the government needs to provide more clarity on how the physical activity sector will be utilised as part of the levelling up proposals.

“What we now need to see is concrete detail on how the government will shape and improve the landscape in which our sector operates, including clarity on access to future investment, tax and regulatory reform, and policy development,” Edwards added.

Edwards’ comments follow the Active Lives Adult Survey compiled by Sport England, which shows that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, existing inequalities within the physical activity levels have widened. The unprecedented impact on activity levels throughout England has been most acute across disadvantaged groups and in areas of high deprivation, the survey found.

Important role of gyms

With physical activity primed to be a key focus of the levelling up agenda, gyms will play a vital role in helping people across all communities get more active and stay fit.

Gymnasiums were one of the last facilities to open in the roadmap out of lockdown.

With people now returning to gyms and fitness facilities playing a pivotal role in the quest level up the country, it is vital such venues have the right insurance in place to keep staff, clients, visitors, as well as buildings and equipment safe.

Nelson Policies at Lloyd’s sports division now offers insurance for gymnasiums in Britain. Get in touch with the team to find out more about our product for gyms.