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26 Mar 2020
Physical activity sector leaders urge chancellor to support self-employed workforce
By Tom Walker
Physical activity sector leaders urge chancellor to support self-employed workforce
A large proportion of workers in the physical activity sector is self-employed
Photo: Shutterstock
Leading organisations in the physical activity sector have urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide urgent financial support for the sector's 60,000 self-employed workers.

The heads of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), ukactive, and Community Leisure UK – along with Clive Ormerod, CEO of Les Mills International – have written an open letter to the chancellor.

“Our workforce is made up of qualified, experienced and dedicated professionals, many of whom have, through no fault of their own, seen a near-total collapse of their earnings as a result of the Covid-19 crisis," the letter reads.

“While digital platforms provide a possible solution for some to earn an income – and many of our members are actively exploring the options for providing online services to their customers – this is not, realistically, going to fill the income gap created by the closure of all of the physical activity facilities they usually teach or instruct from.

“Many of these workers are also parents, carers or partners of other key workers, and they are a vital part of our broader healthcare ecosystem. It is essential that we support them in the same way as employees, so that they are in a position to keep the country fit and healthy during this crisis and beyond.”

The sector bodies have urged the chancellor to show parity with PAYE employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by contributing 80 per cent of average monthly earnings, based on the past three months, or up to £2,500 per month, whichever figure is the lower.

The letter also highlights key findings from a survey of the UK sport and physical activity workforce, undertaken in the last few days, which underline the scale of the issues faced by the sector's employees.

The survey showed that:

• 65 per cent of respondents are self-employed
• 95 per cent have already experienced financial losses, averaging £7,800
• 63 per cent have no financial reserves to fall back on
• 75 per cent stated that their insurance does not cover for loss of earnings

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