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22 Mar 2021

Parliament will debate Work Out to Help Out scheme
BY Tom Walker

The petition, calling for subsidised gym access to get the nation healthy, has attracted nearly 230,000 signatures

The petition, calling for subsidised gym access to get the nation healthy, has attracted nearly 230,000 signatures
photo: Shutterstock/DenisProduction.com

The UK parliament will today (22 March) debate the merits of a Work Out to Help Out scheme, designed to offer subsidised access to health clubs and leisure centres across the country.

The debate – led by MP, Nick Fletcher – will take place at the House of Commons at around 6.15pm and can be viewed on the official UK Parliament Youtube channel (click here).

A petition calling for the initiative – started by HCM editor, Liz Terry MBE – has so far attracted nearly 230,000 signatures and has received widespread support from the health and physical activity sector. The petition also called for gyms to open first after lockdown.

Those asking the government to introduce the scheme include gym chain Pure Gym, Wearable fitness brand Myzone, Barry's UK co-founder Sandy Macaskill and a plethora of independent operators, such as Mo Chaudry.

Among the most vocal supporters of the scheme has been former England rugby star James Haskell.

Speaking to Sky News, the former England Rugby player said more action was needed to teach 'hugely obese' Britons to be active – and that a Work Out to Help Out scheme would be a great start.

"What we've learned during this pandemic is that health is wealth and unfortunately we have an incredibly poor obesity rate in this country, we're probably the worst in Europe.

Haskell has also posted a video on Youtube, calling for the scheme.

Industry campaigner and independent gym owner Nick Whitcombe, is another supporter of the scheme.

In a passionate Instagram post, Whitcombe laid out details of how a Work Out to Help Out scheme could work in practice.

"There are many ways how 'Work Out to Help Out' would benefit the entire country, but the one that would yield the clearest, immediate results – in improving both physical and mental health – would be the subsidising of gym memberships.

"We are asking the government to subsidise gym memberships over a 12-week period, by 50 per cent, in the same way the government subsidised the meals for Eat Out to Help Out."

The debate follows an official reply from the government to the petition, which failed to mention health clubs or gyms. (to read more about the government's response, click here).



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