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fi a update
news
sector grows despite recession
The health and fi tness sector has grown tough 12 months for operators. While government’s health messages are being
by 3 per cent in the 12-month period exercise now enjoys a much higher profi le taken seriously by consumers who value
ending 31 March 2009, according to the thanks to public health campaigns such their gym memberships perhaps over
FIA’s annual State of the Industry survey. as Change4Life and ones implemented by other leisure spend.
Compiled by market analysts The PCTs around the country, our industry is “The fi tness industry has maintained
Leisure Database Company, the survey not recession-proof. its performance levels and gained new
of 6,000 sites shows that the industry’s “What the results do prove, however, members despite the diffi cult trading
revenue reached £3.77bn, while like- is that fi tness and exercise are no longer conditions. It’s also heartening to see
for-like memberships rose by 0.8 per perceived to be luxuries, but an intrinsic the industry realise sustainable growth
cent. The population penetration rate part of consumers’ personal wellbeing without resorting to price-cutting: the
reached 12.1 per cent, with one in eight strategies – and therefore not so healthy increase in market value of 3 per
consumers now members of a health susceptible to economic forces.” cent is evidence of this.”
club or leisure centre. Between 1 April David Minton, director of The Refer to pages 62–63 for more
2008 and 31 March 2009, the number of Leisure Database Company, adds: “The information on the survey.
new public and private fi tness facilities,
also rose by 114.
©
The industry has also benefi ted from
PHO
government funding to support its T
O:
role as a delivery partner for national

ANDREA R
public health programmes. Activity-led
initiatives that have been developed over
the last 12 months include behavioural
ODRIDGUEZ
modifi cation scheme Fit for the Future,
launched in April 2009 and targeting
18- to 24-year-olds, as well as activity

A
GENCY
programmes go and Active at School. All
have been created to improve the physical
: DREAMSTIME.COM
activity levels of youth. MoreActive4Life,
a sub-brand of the government’s £275m
Change4Life campaign, is also due to
launch later this month.
Despite these results, Andrée Deane,
CEO of the FIA, says: “It has been a Exercise is enjoying a higher profi le thanks to recent public health campaigns
brs tax could cripple efforts to improve health
teachers lead
by example
T
he FIA is calling for health club fundamental inconsistency between
operators and the government the government’s targets for increased The FIA has fi nished delivering a pilot
to recognise the “crippling” participation in physical fi tness and programme that assessed the benefi ts of
effect the new Business Rate “imposing a crippling tax burden on the physical activity on teachers’ performance.
Supplement (BRS) will have on the very organisations tasked with helping Held at schools in Devon, London,
sector, and on public health campaigns. to reach those targets. Manchester, North Tyneside, and Luton
Given the large and expensive “BRS isn’t a stealth tax, but it’s not in Bedfordshire, the 12-week programme
spaces fi tness facilities require, if the high on many managers or owners – called Active Teachers – comprised
extra tax of 2p in the £1 is introduced, agendas – and it should be.” fortnightly group exercise classes such as
clubs with a rateable value of more The FIA is calling for fi tness body pump, circuits, cycling and yoga.
than £50,000 would pay anywhere organisations to be exempt from the Organised by the FIA, and funded by
between £1,000 and £13,000 more in tax and, if not, for the threshold to the Youth Sports Trust, more than 100
business rates – per club, per year. be increased beyond £50,000. Colin teachers took part. Most attended their
The proposed bill will allow local Moynihan, British Olympic Association local gym three times a week for classes.
authorities to levy an additional chair, agrees: “A BRS, coupled with The impact of the programme on the
tax, on top of current business the expected rise in Uniform Business teachers’ lifestyles, their productivity
rates, to raise funds for economic Rates, has the potential to infl ict a and stress levels were then assessed.
development projects. Andrée signifi cant and negative impact on public The results will be announced in August
Deane, the FIA’s CEO, says there is a and private health and fi tness facilities.” 2009, with the view of extending the
programme to all UK schools.
18 Read Health Club Management online june 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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