Edinburgh Leisure puts prices up four per cent after council funding cuts

A swimmer in the pool.
A swimmer in the pool.
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PRICES at swimming pools and sports centres in the Capital are set to rise by four per cent following the council’s cut in funding for Edinburgh Leisure.

And pensioners face increases of over 20 per cent because their discount is being reduced.

The increased charges, which will apply from April 1, are still being finalised but the cost of going for a swim could go up from £5.10 to £5.30 for non-card holders and hiring an indoor five-a-side pitch at peak times could rise from £62 to £64.50.

READ MORE: How the Edinburgh Leisure price hike could affect you

Discount Cards for over-65s will now give a 30 per cent reduction rather than 40 per cent. Junior and disability card holders will continue to get 50 per cent discount.

Edinburgh Leisure said prices for customers with membership packages had not increased for two years.

And it said there would be no rise in membership prices for soft play or climbing.

The city council’s budget passed last month reduced Edinburgh Leisure funding for 2019/20 by £350,000 but the SNP-Labour administration agreed to review a proposal to cut £1m in each of the following three years.

In a letter to customers, Edinburgh Leisure chief executive June Peebles thanked those who had objected to the council’s cut to the organisation’s funding and said they had made a difference.

“The feedback identified ‘strong opposition to the reduction in spending on Edinburgh Leisure due to the importance of this service in meeting many of the council’s goals for physical activity, health and wellbeing.

“A total of 255 participants contacted the council during phase two to oppose funding reductions; budget cuts to Edinburgh Leisure were viewed as harmful to those with a physical or mental disability and it was felt that this would only create further cost issues elsewhere.”

Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said the price rises were disappointing. “No one should have to pay more money just to stay fit and take part in sports. I’m particularly concerned about the impact of a further reduction in the discount for over 65s, who are facing a considerable price rise.

“At a time when Edinburgh is in the grip of a social care crisis, hiking prices for our elderly people who access Edinburgh Leisure facilities who rely on them to stay active and healthy is short sighted and will simply put more pressure on our NHS and care service in the long run.”

Edinburgh Leisure said it would continue to target subsidy to those customers likely to be the hardest hit by any price rises. The £10 Get Active card and the pricing for the Health Team & Community Team projects are to remain at current levels.

A spokeswoman said: “Our pricing reflects the ongoing challenges that as a charity we face around our funding.

“Developing our approach for pricing is always challenging and it is vital our pricing supports our ability to deliver a great service that our customers feel represents good value for money.

“We have a vast range of activities for people of all ages and stages to keep active and we will work with our customers to ensure they are on the most appropriate membership to get the best value.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com