CIMSPA responds to the Budget 2021

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, gives her initial thoughts on the implications for the sport and physical activity sector and its workforce.

“Our sector and its workforce has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 and the restrictions of lockdown. There is now light at the end of the tunnel with the upcoming easing of outdoor restrictions and indoor leisure facilities being among the first businesses able to reopen in April. However, things will take time to recover and our sector and its workforce will need ongoing support for some time yet.

I am pleased to see the furlough scheme being extended to September. This was vital and will give employers breathing space to get their business up and running again, while protecting the jobs of their highly trained and professional staff.

The extension of the SEISS scheme will also provide crucial ongoing support for the large number of self-employed workers in our sector. We are highly aware that many thousands have missed out on this support, and it is encouraging to see this recognised with the more recently self-employed finally able to benefit from SEISS. However, I am concerned that many others will still be excluded from support and we will need to look closely at the details.

The doubling of the apprenticeship incentive to £3,000 is a welcome move that will give employers even more reason to bring new people into the workforce, creating opportunities for young people to build a long and rewarding career.

The Chancellor announced some encouraging support for businesses in our sector with an extension of business rate relief and it is especially positive to see gyms and leisure businesses included in the higher, £18,000 level for Restart grants. The major disappointment is the reduced rate of VAT not being extended to the leisure sector - this could have helped to stimulate a major boost in demand from consumers at exactly the time when health and fitness should be a priority for the country.

The £300m summer sports recovery package is a welcome boost for professional sport and the £25m allocated for grassroots football will help to provide much-needed facilities to encourage participation in our national game.

However, it is disappointing not to see any commitment to extending the National Leisure Recovery Fund for supporting public sector facilities. The £100m allocated in December was already far less than was needed to protect these vital health services, and we have already seen many closures and job losses as a result. We will work with our partners in the sector to understand what is now needed and push for additional support.”


The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA’s work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.


Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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