Leisure bosses are calling on the Scottish Government to follow the Chancellor’s lead and extend “vital” help for swimming pools.
Community Leisure UK (CLUK), which represents charitable trusts operating swimming pools, warned money is desperately needed to deal with rapidly rising energy costs and other bills.
Amid fears some pools may be forced to close, CLUK said if Chancellor Jeremy Hunt uses his Budget to provide financial aid south of the border, the Scottish Government must do the same.
Mr Hunt is expected to promise a £40 million one-year fund to make pools more energy efficient in the long-term, along with £23 million in cash grants to leisure centres with pools facing immediate cost pressures.
While this cash will not be available to pools in Scotland, additional money will come to the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula.
Robin Strang, chair of CLUK in Scotland, said it is “vital” Holyrood ministers follow Mr Hunt’s lead with financial aid.
He warned: “The impact of rising energy costs on swimming pools across Scotland is intensifying – and that pressure is only going to become greater.
“While we are still seeking greater action from the UK Government in terms of relief on energy bills, it’s vital that the Scottish Government ensures the knock-on impact of the Chancellor’s announcement are made available to our sector.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government awaits further details from the UK Government on the Budget and will be able to consider the impact on Scotland once the Chancellor has made his statement.
“We are fully aware that energy costs are an issue facing many sports facilities and we have pressed the UK Government to act on the cost of living and energy prices, in order to address the problem at source.
“We recognise the significant health benefits that physical activity brings and the importance of learning to swim and we recognise the particular challenges for local authorities in maintaining swimming pools and other facilities during this time.
“We have regular engagement with sportscotland and Scottish Swimming on this important issue and will continue to do so.”