COVID-19 How to access UK government support for your fitness business

9 min read
The UK government has announced several support measures for business owners. This article gives insight into the impact for fitness businesses.

The UK government has announced several support measures for business owners. This article gives insight into the impact for fitness businesses.

On December 21, 2021, it was announced that UK gyms, swimming pools, and leisure centres would be excluded from the £1bn Omicron business support package by the UK government. The package offered to the hospitality and leisure industry, yet excludes fitness activity, consists of a cash grant of £6,000. At this time fitness industry bodies including ukactive and CIMSPA are have appealed this decision and are urging the government to reverse this great omission.

According to Health Management Club UK, UKactive has called for the following financial package:

  • Suspend business rates for Q1 2022 for all health, fitness and leisure businesses, and agree to review the 2022/3 cap.
  • Introduce new grants to compensate for a lack of trade from Government intervention.
  • Include gyms and fitness centres in the reduced rate of VAT, ahead of a review into an extended and permanent reduction.
  • Extend the National Leisure Recovery Fund – with the pandemic’s catastrophic impact on public leisure, the previous £100m recovery fund must be extended to cover the additional periods of closure and restrictions.
  • Reinstate the furlough scheme and sick pay.

We will keep this document up to date as the situation develops to ensure that our community receives the most accurate information regarding any government support and grants.


This article has been updated on January 5, 2021, in accordance with the new UK regulations for leisure and fitness businesses.

As of January 5, 2021, the UK government has announced that leisure and fitness businesses will be able to claim one-off grants worth up to £9,000 to get through the coming months of the January to February half term lockdown. To find out what support is available for you and your business, check here.

Below are the details of the current UK Coronavirus support.

UK Coronavirus support 2021

According to the Gov.UK website, If you have had to ask your employees to stop working or put them on furlough, you are entitled to support to pay their wages for the hours they do not work. The UK government will pay 80% of the employees' normal wages for hours they do not work up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This opportunity for support is open until April 30, 2021.

These are the deadlines to submit your claim by:

  • 14 January 2021, for eligible employees on furlough in December 2020
  • 15 February 2021, for eligible employees on furlough in January 2021
  • 15 March 2021, for eligible employees on furlough in February 2021
  • 14 April 2021, for eligible employees on furlough in March 2021
  • 14 May 2021, for eligible employees on furlough in April 2021

Support for businesses deferring VAT

If you are a UK VAT registered business and had a VAT payment due between March 20, 2020, and June 30, 2020, you are eligible to defer your payment until March 21, 2021. To see if you are eligible to defer your VAT payment, check here.

Support for sick pay

If you have paid for employees who are off sick, self-isolating or shielding due to the Coronavirus, you can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay, which will cover up to 2 weeks of sick pay for every eligible employee. Eligibility requires you are based in the UK and have had fewer than 250 employees since February 28, 2020.

To claim sick pay follow the instructions, here.

Government Business Interruption Loan

If you are a small or medium-sized business or if you are self-employed you may be eligible to receive loans and other financial support of up to £5 million. Eligibility for loan support requires you are based in the UK and have a turnover of £45 million or less per year. You will also need to show that your business would be considered viable by a lender, if not for the current pandemic and that it has been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This financial opportunity is open until January 31, 2021. To apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, see here.

Government bounce back loan

If you are a small or medium-sized business or if you are self-employed you may be eligible to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The UK government will guarantee 100% of the loan and for the first 12 months, you will not have to pay any fees, interest, or make repayments. If you currently have a Bounce Back Loan, but originally borrowed a lesser amount than you were entitled to, you can add more to your existing loan up to the maximum amount. Eligibility for this loan requires your business is based in the UK, was established before March 1, 2020, and has negatively been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. To apply for a Bounce Back Loan or top up your existing loan you must do so by January 31, 2021, here.

Businesses paying taxes in 2021

If you are unable to pay your tax bill due to the coronavirus, you may be able to delay your payment without penalty using the HM Revenue and Custom's (HMRC) Time to Pay service. To be eligible to delay your payment you must be a UK business that pays taxes to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities. To find out more about what to do if you cannot pay your UK taxes for your business, see here.


The remainder of this article is now out of date but we’re leaving it here for reference. Don’t miss our new guide to re-opening.

Last updated: August 13, 2020

The UK government announced support packages for businesses. Here are some links to access help. Now that gyms have re-opened, we won't update this article further but will leave it in place for links and any other information that you want to refer back to.

Please always use your insurance as your first reference point when making decisions about safety and information collection or waivers. It's vital to do so that you are protected.

UK Coronavirus government support

The UK has focused on several ways to support business owners.

They have published a dedicated page which is being kept up to date with the latest information. This has recently been updated to be much clearer, so we recommend that as a first starting point.

We have reviewed the available support with reference to small and medium fitness businesses (and the self-employed) and have summarised it below.

UK government support 

Self-employed income support scheme

On March 26th the UK Government added support for those who are self-employed.

This is essentially 80% of earnings based on the last 3 years of trading history, but there are quite a few qualifying conditions that are broken down on their dedicated page.

Crucially, they have not offered any support for single director limited companies that only take earnings through dividends. There is some pressure for this as it represents a large group. So we will monitor the situation carefully and update if there is a change - as of writing, there is still no change.

We recommend you read the above page if you are self-employed. At this moment there is no action to take. If you qualify for the scheme, the government will contact you and invite you to apply. There is no information on this process yet, but we'll update when we have more insight to share.

If you are having issues paying your tax bill then see this article. There are several options including switching to instalments.

Government ordered closure and insurance

Since the 21st March, the government ordered the closure of several categories of businesses. This has been approved as a legitimate claim for business closure by several insurers. Speak with your insurer to find out if they will cover a claim for losses due to forced business closure.

Support for businesses that pay business rates

Business rates for the 2020-21 tax year will be re-billed by your local authority and you should speak to them directly for advice. It seems that some support is at their discretion so it's important to communicate to ensure you get the benefit. The relief will apply from your April 2020 council tax bill, so if you've already received it then you will receive a revised version.

The government has announced a £25,000 grant for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Contact your local authority for more information.

There are lots more details about the types of support available in the document on this page.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government also announced a smaller business one-off grant of £10,000 if you are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief.

To find out if you qualify for a small business grant visit this page ( This will also be administered by your local authority, and the funding will be provided in early April.

Business interruption loan

The government is going to guarantee 80% of loans for this new temporary scheme. The details are due out from the 20th March and it will be administered by the British Business Bank.

The first 6 months of the loan will be interest-free.

Visit the British Business Bank website for more information. They have a dedicated page here listing all the approved lenders. The first place to start here is with your bank.

Sick pay help

If you have employees who have been off work sick, then you can get a refund on statutory sick pay. They haven't announced all the details yet but keep detailed records of any staff absences due to sickness or quarantine to be ready when they do.

Problems paying tax

If you are worried about any ability to pay outstanding tax liabilities there is some leeway and help available via the "Time to Pay" scheme. Call the dedicated HMRC helpline: 0800 0159 559 for more information.

If you have found out any other help mechanisms that would help other business owners please drop us a line at

Further reading

To find out more about the features TeamUp have implemented to help business owners see this article. It covers how to bulk discount memberships, how to cancel all classes between two dates, and how to go online.

To read some tips for how to approach a lockdown see this collection of tips.

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