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Pure Gym CEO Humphrey Cobbold is asking the government to abolish VAT from gym memberships to lower the price of joining, which he says is the “single most important factor” people consider when choosing whether or not to join a gym.

Cobbold told Radio 5’s Wake Up to Money, “My one wish for the government would be to give serious consideration into scrapping VAT from gym memberships. It seems a little bit strange for the government to tax that at 20% when we want more people to be doing it.”

He added that it appeared wrong charging 20% VAT to people who are “working hard to get themselves in better body shape and better mental shape”.

A Treasury spokesperson said, “If a gym does not make a profit, its members will pay no VAT on membership fees under EU law, but until we leave the EU, it is not possible to extend this exemption to profit-making gyms.”

It’s not the first time Pure Gym has called for this change. Back in 2015 the low-cost gym chain’s founder Peter Roberts called for VAT to be removed from gym memberships, saying, “There’s a tradition of everything being solved by pills, when a lot could be solved by exercise. Problems relating to the health of the nation are costing the government over £40bn a year.”

Where to next? Check out the new Online Education Platform from FitPro.