England Golf has welcomed and fully supports a constructive move from The Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive to lobby government for the inclusion of golf clubs in the VAT relief package that has already been offered to the hospitality, accommodation and culture sectors.
Following recent discussions between England Golf and the SRA, an urgent request has now been made to government to extend the policy on temporary VAT relief to include those businesses which provide sport and leisure facilities for the community.
Golf clubs experienced a compulsory seven-week closure during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic leaving them with zero income and fixed overhead costs.
Even after clubhouses were permitted to re-open in July, the restrictions on indoor capacity continues to adversely affect cash flow and business at golf clubs.
By extending the VAT reduction to golf clubs, the financial pressure on many clubs and facilities would be eased at a time when keeping millions of people engaged with safe and healthy outdoor sport has never been more important to the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.
England Golf’s Finance Director, Simon Wilson, said: “By introducing VAT relief for golf clubs, government would be recognising the role of clubs in providing a vital hub for safe and healthy physical activity for communities all across England.
“As the nation looks to emerge from the pandemic, golf has helped lead the country’s sporting recovery.
“However, the financial burden on clubs remains great and a reduction in the level of VAT to 5% in line with other important sectors could be a game-changer for many clubs in the short-term.
“As we all look to drive the health benefits of sport, improve community resilience to the virus and ease any future pressure on the NHS, it is vital that the infrastructure and golf facilities we currently have remain in place.”
Lisa Wainwright, chief executive of the SRA, commented: “Extending the cut to the provision of facilities would help those in our sector who currently offer sport on their premises at the standard rate, such as golf clubs.
“It is crucial to the health of the nation that we get the public back into activity and using their local facilities as quickly as possible.”