'˜How is this a legacy?' Anger as swimming in Edinburgh now costs as much as fast-food delivery

GOING for a swim at Edinburgh's best-known pool now costs as much as sitting at home and getting a fast-food order delivered direct to your door.

Saturday, 13th October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 13th October 2018, 6:35 am
The Royal Commonwwealth pool

The Royal Commonwealth Pool (RCP) charges £6.20 for a single adult swim - virtually the same as Uber Eats bringing you a hamburger, fries and Coke from McDonald’s.

Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said she feared the high cost of a dook could deter people from taking exercise or getting involved in sport.

And she has written to Edinburgh Leisure, the city council’s arms-length organisation, voicing her concern about the new prices hurting the ongoing battle against obesity.

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Prices at Edinburgh Leisure venues went up in September, with a swim at the Commonwealth Pool rising from £6 to £6.20.

An Uber Eats delivery from McDonald’s can be bought for £6.22 - 89p for a hamburger; 89p for small fries; 89p for a Coke; 5p for a bag and £3.50 delivery charge.

Ms Dugdale said: “I have been contacted by constituents about the incredibly high cost of a swim at the Commonwealth Pool, and have written to Edinburgh Leisure to express my concerns.

“The international sporting events recently hosted in Scotland, and at the Commonwealth Pool, were designed to create a legacy of sport in the communities in which they were based. But I fear these prices could have a major detrimental effect on the uptake of sport and exercise.

“The fact that is costs around the same to get a fast-food order of burger, chips and a fizzy drink delivered directly to your home demonstrates just how misguided the pricing structure is, and I hope it is reviewed as a matter of urgency. We have an obesity crisis in Scotland that must be addressed.”

Edinburgh Leisure said it was dedicated to creating opportunities for everyone to lead more active, healthy lives and pointed out it was a non-profit organisation.

Chief executive June Peebles said: “Every penny our customers spend with us, including entrance fees and funding that we receive from partners including the city council, is used to fund and develop our work.

“Our charges are reviewed regularly; we strive to deliver value for money services and to target ‘reduced or subsidised pricing’ where it is most needed and where we can identify individual need.”

Edinburgh Leisure also pointed out there were many different pricing options available, depending on an individual’s circumstances and how often they use facilities.

A swim-only membership at the RCP costs £33.70 per month, which allows unlimited access to nine city pools.

For £49.60, customers can have 10 swims for the price of eight at the RCP, which works out at £4.96 a swim compared to £6.20.

And discount cards costing £20.90-£34.90 can reduce the cost of a swim to £4.60.