The co-founder of bootcamp and gym operator Barry's UK has called for Rishi Sunak to announce a 'Work Out To Help Out' scheme to get Britain and the battered fitness sector back on its feet. Last summer the hospitality sector was boosted by the Chancellor's Eat Out to Help Out initiative, which offered consumers a 50% discount up to GBP10 on meals and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August 2020. Speaking ahead of Rishi Sunak's Budget statement, Sandy Macaskill told the Standard: "If the Government is genuinely concerned about getting the nation fit to fight the virus, and help people overcome the long-term effects of lockdown on mental and physical wellbeing, our industry must be prioritised."
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme saw a total of nearly GBP850 million claimed, according to HMRC figures. Macaskill said the idea for a Government-funded 'Work Out to Help Out' scheme "is already receiving overwhelming support from people within the industry". He said: "Even when our studios are able to re-open, we will have to continue to operate with a capacity cap until social distancing measures are completely removed, so we're still a long way off from being fully operational and are calling on the Government, on behalf of the industry, to act now."
It comes after the chiefs of some of Britain's top gym chains warned that the fitness industry is at a crossroads, and said that a "day of reckoning" is coming as the rent moratorium ends.
Fitness industry leaders have been campaigning for months to be allocated the 5% VAT relief hospitality was granted after the pandemic hit.
Mr Sunak is expected to announce a raft of measures to support the leisure and hospitality sectors in his Budget on Wednesday.