Updated: Jul 13
By the end of 2022, the UK fitness industry might be all but annihilated due to the biggest inflation in 40 years.
According to a recent Financial Times article, the cost-of-living problem and growing inflation could cause the UK fitness business to collapse by the end of the year.
The article claims that the sharp increase in electricity costs has forced operators of fitness clubs to save costs by shortening their hours, lowering the temperature of their pools, and doing without full illumination.
Additionally, it has lately been suggested for gym-goers spend less time in club showers. According to experts, the country's electricity rates have climbed by 100–150 percent since 2019, which has caused fitness centers to accrue increasing debt commitments, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, and could cause their liquidation by the end of 2022.
Nine out of ten owners of fitness facilities will be had to decrease some of the services they offer in the upcoming six months, and two-thirds of them will be required to reduce employees, according to a survey by the fitness and swimming organization UKActive.
Due to the energy crisis brought on by growing energy prices amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine and the accompanying Western sanctions and countersanctions, the situation has gotten worse over the past few months. Although UK energy sanctions on Russia have been relatively mild so far, London has promised to stop using Russian gas, coal, and oil as soon as possible.
Since the beginning of 2022, the UK's energy imports from Russia have decreased by 20 percent; yet, because of increased costs, the UK spent more on these imports while receiving less for its money. In 2021, the nation spent a total of £4.5 billion ($5.7 billion) on Russian coal, gas, and oil; however, in the first five months of 2022, the total cost of Russia's energy imports to the UK was £5.3 billion ($6.7 billion).
However, the UK fitness industry, and particularly pools, were already in danger due to their aging and expensive upkeep even before the current energy crisis. About half of them have constructed roughly 40 years ago. The article cited a 2019 estimate that stated that by 2030, 1,800 of the UK's more than 4,000 pools would have to close.
These issues have been brought up with Nigel Huddleston, the nation's sports minister, by Jane Nickerson, the chief executive of Swim England, the regulatory body for water sports in the UK. She claims that the sector needs government assistance and cannot exist without it.
"At the moment, swimming need help to be practical. Our primary concern is that doors will just close as owners realize they cannot afford to operate their swimming pools, she told the Financial Times.