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Lip Up Fatty

October 20th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 4 Comments · Politics

According to the Crawley News, the West Sussex PCT is spending £200 million a year extra because of obesity in the county.  One particular issue the PCT has identified is childhood obesity, and they have launched a joint initiative with Mid-Sussex council to adress it.

One thing that can help in the fight against obesity is to encourage more exercise, and one popular form of exercise is swimming.  The government is encouraging councils to offer free swimming to the over 60s and under 16s and is funding the scheme. 80% of councils in the country have taken up the offer apparently. I do not know if Mid Sussex is one of them (their web site is unavailable right now) but I do know that Crawley and Horsham councils are in the 20% of councils who do not want to give free swimming to the old or young.

Neither I nor anybody else in my household qualifies in either age group, but I still think it would be a good idea for Horsham and Crawley councils to provide every encouragement to swim more. It might help with the obesity problem and even if it does not it will add to general happiness in the area.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Danivon

    I’m led to believe that most if not all of the districts in West Sussex have declined the offer.

    Crawley’s rationale is that they would lose money because fewer people would buy the discount card. However, more people might go and may bring in other people who are paying customers (and while they are there, they might spend more in the concessions), and quite a few people take the discount card for other reasons. It might be an opportunity to revise the card anyway, perhaps to tie it in?

    I am getting a distinct feeling that this is more about politics than it is about services or the cost.

  • Skuds

    I think Wealden are doing free swimming for the over 60. Not sure about the under 15s though.

    another factor could be the commercial relationship between councils and contracted-out service providers. They can say that they took on a job with the promise of a certain level of revenue and threaten lawyers if that changes, or threaten to just pull out – much as Arriva buses did in Crawley.

    It doesn’t have to mean that something is impossible though, just that you have to put a bit more thought into it – like your suggestion to change the basis of discount cards: have two cards, a normal one and a cheaper one that does not include swimming for example.

  • Danivon

    Wealden is in East Sussex.

  • Skuds

    Good point! I was in a geographic frame of mind there and forgetting the East/West boundary.