Sport spending hit by cost of living rise – survey

London Sport’s survey showed more than a third of people questioned could not afford to use local leisure facilities

The cost of living crisis threatens to “turn the clock back” when it comes to getting people more active, according to campaigners.

More than a quarter of adults across the UK are now cutting their spending on physical activity and sport due to rising costs, according to new research.

The survey, by charity London Sport, found more than a third agreed that the issue had limited their ability to afford equipment.

A similar proportion said financial pressure had also discouraged them from using local leisure facilities.

With the 10-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympics later this month, the study also reveals that just over half of adults agree that the Games left a positive legacy.

But that proportion dropped to less than half among those on lower wages.

“Physical activity has already taken a big hit from the pandemic and now, across the UK, the cost of living crisis threatens once again to turn the clock back in terms of progress of getting people active to help their health and wellbeing” said Emily Robinson, CEO of London Sport.

“It’s disappointing that the anniversary of the Games brings a stark reminder that we need to do more to address the inequality and inactivity gaps within the capital and beyond.”

“It is vital that government, local authorities and other decision makers have a renewed focus on making the benefits of being active available to everyone.”

The research, which was based on a survey of 2,000 adults across the UK, comes after funding agency Sport England last month acknowledged “a concerning underlying picture”, with activity levels among some groups falling “at a worrying rate”.

“There are also widening inequalities, with the least affluent being the most impacted,” it said.

In June, a coalition of organisations in the physical activity sector called for urgent support for leisure facilities struggling with rising energy costs.

According to research by UK Active, 79% of public leisure facilities say that without support they are ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to cease operations within the next six months.

The proportion of adults that are active fell to 61.4% in the most recent figures.

The government has been preparing to publish a new sports strategy.

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