Leisure Centre consults on price increase proposals

Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre and Library.

The organisation that runs Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre is staging a ‘drop-in’ session next Monday (24th September) as part of a public consultation on  a range of options for increasing prices in response to reduced funding from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).

Circadian Trust, the not-for-profit social enterprise company that took over the running of the Council’s Leisure Centres in 2005, is asking people to provide feedback on three options that include reducing the levels of concessionary discounts (for young people and the elderly) and an across the board increase of 3% above inflation.

Concessionary discounts of up to 50% are currently available for some activities but the Trust says this exceeds the national average of 33%.

Maximum discounts (e.g. 50%) for people “most in need”, such as those in receipt of a means tested benefit, would be retained, says the Trust.

Respondents are also being asked their opinion on whether the upper age limit for young people’s concessions should be increased from 16 to 18 (mirroring the Government’s increase in the age to which they must continue in education or training) and whether the lower age limit for elderly people’s concessions should be increased from 60 to 65 (in line with the Government’s changes in state pension entitlement).

Any increases resulting from the above options would be on top of an inflation-linked increase based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which is currently running at 2.9%.

The results of the consultation will be considered when the Trust determines a new pricing policy that is due to come into effect from January 2013.

The ‘drop in’ session takes place between 2pm and 6pm on Monday 24th September. Responses to the consultation may also be made online and by post.

More info: Circadian Trust Pricing Policy Consultation (SGC)

The Trust says it is committed to providing a fair and consistent discounted pricing system for people who need it and claims that prices are currently “very well positioned compared with those of neighbouring authorities”.

Mark Crutchley, Chief Executive of Circadian Trust, said:

“Our aim is to provide fairly priced leisure centres and services for all of our customers. This includes a reasonable and consistent discounted pricing system for people who need it.”

“As a charitable business we reinvest all our profits back into the facilities and services we deliver. As such, we need to change our pricing structure to protect the future of all our services and continue to provide a quality and value‐for‐money sports and leisure programme for everyone in South Gloucestershire.”

“It is very important to us to hear as many customer’s views and thoughts on the options we are putting forwards in this consultation.”

Example of potential price changes

It currently costs £5.50 to play badminton (off peak) if you are an adult with no concessions, £2.90 at a concessionary rate and £2.50 if you are in receipt of a means tested benefit.

Under option 1 (reduce concessionary discounts to 33%), this would rise to around £5.80 for an adult paying full price (with inflation increase only), to around £3.90 at a concessionary rate and around £2.90 if you are in receipt of a means tested benefit.

Under option 2 (increase prices by RPI + 3%), this would rise to £6.00 for an adult paying full price, the standard concessionary rate will rise to around £3.20 and around £2.70 if you are in receipt of a means tested benefit.

Option 3 is to apply a combination of options 1 and 2.

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  1. 1. South Glos Council freezes council tax for 2012/13 – whoopee!

    2. South Glos Council cuts funding to trust running leisure centres.

    3. Leisure centres have to increase prices by inflation PLUS 3% and/our raise concessionary prices to maintain service levels.

    VERDICT: Politicians make themselves out to be heroes for freezing council tax but we all end up paying more in the end.

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