To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Government announces allocation of £100 million to support recovery of leisure centres, published on 20 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that funding on trends in the level of leisure centre closures; and if he will make a statement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Government announces allocation of £100 million to support recovery of leisure centres, published on 20 March 2021, what steps he has taken to ensure that the process of allocating recovery funding is (a) equitable and (b) transparent.
The National Leisure Recovery Fund sought to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.
A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which was allocated in a single funding round. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function. This is in addition to the wider financial support provided to councils throughout the pandemic.
To help ensure an equitable distribution of the National Leisure Recovery Fund, a Notional Funding Allocation was calculated for each eligible local authority and funding awards were only made in excess of the Notional Funding Allocation in the most exceptional circumstances. The basis of the Notional Funding Allocation is a per capita allocation. This has then been adjusted to take into consideration physical activity levels, number of facilities and health outcome indicators.
Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.