The UK Association of Indoor Play (AIP) is calling for urgent action to protect its Members from an impending cliff edge situation in April next year. The Association fears hundreds of centres will go under next year without further support.
AIP is already seeing a significant uptick in indoor children’s leisure centres closing their doors due to unfavourable trading conditions caused by a toxic mix of low consumer confidence, increased energy bills and unscrupulous landlords. This toxic mix is made even more disastrous by a backdrop of low cash reserves and built up COVID debts.
Speaking about the reversal of the majority of measures announced by the Chancellor today, AIP Director Tom Filer said, “What consumers and businesses need right now is stability and insight into what will happen at the end of March. The events of the last few weeks have wreaked havoc unnecessarily at a time when businesses needed a firm plan to restore consumer confidence and provide a pathway back to stable trading conditions.”
“Indoor children’s leisure centres are already on the brink, fighting for survival. What we need now is a clear plan to avoid the cliff edge that is hurtling towards businesses in just over 5 months’ time, which is being caused by business rates, energy costs and interest rates,” he further commented.
“The Government 'Plan B’ cannot simply be to reverse ‘Plan A’. They need to set out a comprehensive industrial strategy to let businesses take the reins to grow the economy and deliver the full societal benefits they so easily can, as long as the right macro environment exists.’
There are 1,600 indoor children’s leisure centres (indoor play, role play, laser tag and trampoline parks) in the UK, which provide safe, low-cost places for children to exercise and to socialise. A recent survey carried out by AIP showed that only 69% of operators believed they would survive beyond next year, but the association now believes that recent events mean this number will be far greater without further Government action.
AIP is calling for an urgent end to ‘yet another’ zombie Government and has written to the Prime Minister to call for urgent action to restore stability. The Association is calling for an extension to the energy support beyond April, an extension to business rates relief beyond April for the sector and a wider plan for business growth.
AIP is the sole membership organisation in the UK representing children’s indoor leisure including indoor play, role play, laser tag and trampoline parks.
Tom Filer is Director of the Association of Indoor Play and can be contacted for further comment on email@example.com.