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    In BROMLEY, Free swimming debate rages on


    Posts : 76
    Join date : 2009-04-18
    Location : Bromley

    In BROMLEY, Free swimming debate rages on Empty In BROMLEY, Free swimming debate rages on

    Post  Staff on Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:01 pm

    AN OPPOSITION councillor claims the borough’s over-60s have “earned” their right to free swimming, and residents should help foot a £1.30 rise in council tax.

    Last year, Conservative Bromley Council took the decision to ignore the Government’s two-year, £140m free swimming programme, saying it would it would be left with a hefty funding shortfall.

    The local authority was offered £91,000 each year to help subsidise the offer of free swimming for over-60s.

    But executive Labour councillor John Getgood says the benefits of encouraging more elderly residents to stay fit and healthy was worth a small increase in council tax.

    He said: “Surely we value them more than that and they have earned it from their years of paying into the system.”

    Cllr Getgood and Tory portfolio holder for renewal and recreation, Councillor Julian Benington, debated the lack of free swimming at a meeting of the Bromley Council on Ageing on Wednesday (June 10).

    Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Getgood explained: “Bromley was one of just two London boroughs which did not take up the Government's offer.

    “After the Government subsidy of £91,000, free swimming would cost around £160,000 which the council would have to find.”

    He added: “However, £160,000 is equal to about £1.30 a year for the average council tax payer.”

    Bromley Mytime

    Cllr Benington argued Bromley Mytime, the charity running the borough’s leisure centres, could lose out on anywhere up to £9.3m if the borough’s 60,000 over-60s each went swimming once a week for a year.

    He said: “Even 10 per cent of that figure, 6,000 elderly residents, means we would lose in excess of £930,000.

    “These small increases in council tax very quickly add up.

    “I am confident that in this economic climate no government will renew this scheme and it will be up to local authorities to bear the burden come 2011.”

    But Cllr Getgood said: "At the end of the meeting a vote was taken which showed a substantial majority in favour of asking the council to think again. Not likely to happen, I fear.”

    What do you think about the council's decision to dip out of the free swimming initiative? Leave your comments below.

    Posts : 143
    Join date : 2010-09-23

    In BROMLEY, Free swimming debate rages on Empty Re: In BROMLEY, Free swimming debate rages on

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