On behalf of East Devon District Council (EDDC), Council Leader Councillor Paul Arnott has written to the 3 constituency MP’s who cover the district to seek their support to lobby the Government for extra financial support for its leisure services.

Unlike neighbouring councils who directly provide leisure services, East Devon have only been able to recover £280K of a £1.4m deficit created by the Covid-19 pandemic for its operator LED.

Councillor Arnott is joining a regional campaign of South West Councils who are lobbying their local MP’s to request that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government change their national recovery fund criteria to fully compensate councils for these losses.

The letter to MP's Mel Stride, Neil Parish and Simon Jupp was the following:

Dear Mel, Neil and Simon

As you are aware I have written to you previously to highlight the apparent unfairness of the situation where the Government is supporting the ongoing provision of leisure services in Exeter and Mid Devon, but not here in East Devon.

All councils had received their respective share of the additional funding from central government but councils with internal provision were able to recover 71% of the loss in income experienced from the start of the pandemic whereas councils with external provision were only able to recover direct financial support to leisure providers from December 2020 onwards from a very limited £100m fund.

In the case of our Council the financial impact has been a payment to our leisure provider of £1.4m to the end of the current financial year, representing an increase in the Council’s total net budget of 11%, in order to enable leisure provision to continue to exist. There will be additional costs required from April which is unknown at this stage. The only funding available to the Council is through the National Leisure Recovery Fund of which are allocation is £280k.

Please can I ask you to support the following matters by raising these issues direct with the MHCLG on our behalf.

1. An extension of the Income Compensation Fund beyond June 2021,
2. An extension of the National Recovery Fund to provide proper and full compensation to councils that have directly supported leisure providers without limit of time,
3. Inclusion of local community leisure trusts within the compensation schemes,
4. Recognition of the current funding inequalities, and
5. Recognition of the value of local authority provided leisure facilities.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

Kind regards
Councillor Paul Arnott
Leader, EDDC