As the countdown continues to the 2019 Budget determination Sport for Business has seen a copy of the submission presented to Government by Ireland Active.
The Association represents Leisure Health and Fitness operators across Ireland and is the moving force behind National Fitness Day which takes place next week.
In the submission, Ireland Active has made four key calls on Government.
The first is to retain and extend the nine percent VAT rate charged on gym memberships, rental of sports facilities and swimming pool admissions for the lifetime of the new National Sports policy.
It makes the argument that to reverse the measure introduced in 2011 would have a detrimental impact on a number of Government policies and programmes in the area of health and wellbeing.
The second is to extend the current exemption from VAT on children’s swimming lessons to all exercise programmes for children and adults.
The third element of the submission is a proposal to remove the Benefit in Kind status of leisure centre and gym memberships offered by employers.
It includes a firm proposal to replicate the Bike to Work scheme by providing a token for membership up to a value of €1,000. This would encourage workplace wellbeing and contribute in turn to a more productive workplace.
The final call is for increased annual investment in the Sports capital and Large Scale Sport Infrastructure funding programmes.
As part of this, it suggests the need for “a complete facility audit to be undertaken by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to include local authority, public, private and community sports clubs to ensure that investment is undertaken where most needed and not to distort local conditions where provision already exists.”
It points to the fact that 9,500 people are employed in the sector and that 750,000 people are taking regular exercise in gyms and swimming pools up and down the country.
The Ireland Active submission follows on the heels of that submitted by the Federation of Irish Sport and covered first on Sport for Business last week.
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