The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG), which the Active Partnerships National Organisation (APNO) is a member of, on behalf of the network, has responded to the Autumn Statement 2023.
The APNO has been reflecting in particular on how announcements included in the statement relate to important areas of work that the Active Partnerships network is currently involved in.
Andy Taylor, CEO of the APNO, said: “The Autumn Statement highlights that between 2019 and 2023, the number of people economically inactive because of long-term sickness who reported a mental health condition rose by over 35% and the government committing £795 million over the next five years to tackle the causes of mental health problems is welcomed by the Active Partnerships network.
“Many studies have clearly shown that movement and physical activity can significantly support those with mental and physical health conditions. The Active Partnerships network, and its partners, has frequently highlighted this connection and advocated for people with long-term health conditions, including mental health conditions, to have increased opportunities to access physical activity to help manage these conditions and improve their quality of life.
“The network’s important work in this area will continue at pace as we, along with our partners in the physical activity, sport and healthcare sectors look to support the better integration of physical activity into health and care systems.”
The NSPG has also cautiously welcomed the Chancellor's announcements included in the statement which seek to prioritise the country's economic growth.
The Chancellor wants his Autumn Statement to be the catalyst for driving economic growth and productivity in the UK, and fundamental to this ambition is improving our national health, especially for people of working age.
While there remains an absence from the Government of a comprehensive public health strategy covering all ages and backgrounds to address our nation’s poor health, the Autumn Statement contains several announcements that could support the growth and development of parts of our sector, particularly the Back to Work Plan, Levelling Up funding, and reducing taxes for the self-employed.
Improving economic growth depends on increasing the nation’s productivity and to do that we need to prioritise a healthier society. The number of people unemployed due to a health condition is 2.6 million, up by half a million (almost 25 per cent) since the pandemic.
The role of the sport, recreation and physical activity sector in powering economic growth was recognised in the Government’s ‘Get Active’ strategy, which committed to working closely with the sector to explore new ways to boost activity levels.
It is time to back the sector fully to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for physical activity, and to truly make this an Autumn Statement for growth.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said:
“We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement on extending business rates support, which comes after intense lobbying from ukactive and partners, as well as funding to help people with long-term conditions back into employment.
“Our members continue to face high operating costs, as set out in our latest evidence, so continued support from the Government remains crucial for the protection of public services.
“We await further details on how the measures in the Statement relate to our sector, including how the Back to Work Plan utilises gyms, pools and leisure centres, and how stimulating demand for these services can create the healthy workforce to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for economic growth and reducing the burden on the NHS.
“As the NSPG outlined earlier this year, there is huge potential for the sector to support Government ambitions to make the UK healthier and more productive.
“The sector is now calling for the Government to realise the potential of physical activity and engage with our organisations on a cross-departmental level to make the most of this opportunity.”
Colin Huffen, Associate Director – Policy and Professional Services, CIMSPA said:
"Our recently published Workforce Insight Report shows just how important small and micro businesses are to our sector, so the measures to support self-employed professionals that have been announced in the Autumn Statement are helpful.
“The professionals that work across our sector, in a range of roles and communities, play a crucial role in helping to develop activity levels and in promoting wellbeing and healthy lifestyles. This is vital for supporting economic prosperity.”
About the National Sector Partners Group
The NSPG is a coalition of lead representative bodies from across the sport, recreation and physical activity sectors:
- Active Partnerships
- Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)
- Sport for Development Coalition
- Sport and Recreation Alliance
- Youth Sport Trust
Through our collaborative work as sector partners, we aim to engage decision makers to improve the operating landscape for the sector and embed sport, recreation and physical activity as a key contributor to wider public policy objectives.