Alliance calls for sustained funding and tax breaks ahead of The Budget

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The Sport and Recreation Alliance has written to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget to ask for protection of the Sugar Tax funding for school sport and to call for wider tax reliefs to be made available for grassroots sport and recreation clubs.

The Prime Minister has previously stated that his government will ‘seek to reduce childhood obesity and increase the amount of physical activities our children are exposed to’.

As an acknowledgement of this, the Alliance has urged the government to extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) – or ‘Sugar Tax’ – and continue to ring-fence the revenue raised to support Physical Education and sport in schools.

Lisa Wainwright, CEO at the Alliance, said: “The money raised has already been used to fund improvements to Physical Education, sport and healthy lifestyles in schools. Any reduction or removal of this funding would be a worrying step backwards and in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister’s previous commitments.

“Evidence shows that the levy has not had a negative impact on consumers, and we propose extending it to sweetened milk-based drinks in line with recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer.

“This would continue to provide essential money to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles for our children.”

Additional requests have been made in order to provide financial relief to Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs), in a bid to drive participation in physical activity by making grassroots clubs cheaper to run.

In January, the government announced a package of additional business rates reliefs in 2020/21 for pubs, music venues and retail outlets. The Alliance want to see these benefits extended to grassroots clubs also.

Wainwright added: “The majority of sports clubs are not-for-profit organisations which deliver huge social and economic benefits to their local communities, yet in recent years they have faced steep increases in business rate bills.

“We urge the Chancellor to look at existing reliefs given to small businesses and provide these to sports clubs.

“As part of this we would also like to see an extension of VAT zero rating relief to new sports buildings constructed by CASCs and sports charities to encourage physical activity and provide communities with improved social-hub facilities.”

“We would also encourage the Chancellor to introduce gift aid relief on subscriptions for clubs registered as CASCs or charities to provide a further boost to grassroots sport.”