By Democrat reporter

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has warned that local swimming pools and sports centres may have to close unless Scottish Government ministers agree to covers losses incurred by council leisure services during the pandemic.

This warning comes after COSLA council leaders highlighted how local government-run leisure budgets suffered losses of £227m during the first six months of 2020.

The shortfall was incurred due to Covid restrictions on council run leisure services.

However, the Scottish Government has made just £90million available to cover the shortfall.

Jackie Baillie has backed COSLA’S call to press the Scottish Government to meet the full extent of lost income. 

The MSP said: “The SNP Government’s refusal to cover these losses means that council-run leisure services are facing an unprecedented crisis. Our community has a number of council-run leisure services which many local people rely on.

“There is a shortfall of well over 50% of what is needed to cover the losses incurred at the height of the pandemic.

“Unless ministers agree to a more generous settlement, swimming pools and sports centres could face permanent closure.

“It would be a dereliction of duty to leave our local authorities so short of funds that facilities have to close permanently.

“SNP ministers must agree to fund the full extent of the losses incurred for leisure services.”

One comment

  1. Why are p the swimming pools and leisure centres in particular short of money.

    What is singling them out as being particularly cash strapped as opposed to other services. The claim of a quarter of a billion pounds of losses in six months is absolutely incredible. That’s nearly half a billion pounds a year.

    With there being around 145 swimming pools across Scotland are we really saying that every swimming pool leisure centre is losing nearly £1.6 million every six months. And if so what other departments will be losing similar money. Parks, libraries, roads, schools, social work, building and maintenance, planning building control services, environmental services.

    Swimming pools are only a very very small part of overall council budgets with an area like WDC having three pool centres. So why the allegedly huge losses now being claimed.

    Can’t help but think there’s a bit of politicking going on here. But maybe we could be told why?

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