MPs Think A 'Work Out To Help Out' Scheme Could Get Us Moving

Think ‘Eat Out To Help Out’, but with gyms.

Remember when we went mad for cheap pub grub, then analysis suggested the government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme increased Covid cases by 17% and had a “limited effect” on the economy?

Well, the scheme – or at least, the concept – could be back, with a new campaign designed to get the nation active.

The government has been advised to launch a ‘Work Out to Help Out’ scheme, to incentivise people to get involved in organised sport and physical activity.

The details are yet to be outlined, but cheap gym memberships and reduced class prices seem likely. The state-backed Eat Out to Help Out programme offered customers a 50% discount, up to £10, when eating in registered restaurants in August 2020.

The recommendation is part of a report on the nation’s activity levels from the cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Just over half of children and young people achieved the minimum recommended level of 60 minutes activity a day in 2020, the report found, and the pandemic also reduced activity among adults.

Community and grassroots sport is “heavily reliant on a relatively small volunteer workforce”, the report said, and the “shrinking” of that workforce is “one of the biggest challenges facing community sport post-pandemic”.

The MPs believe the initiative would encourage both participation and volunteering in sport.

“We recommend that the government initiate a sporting equivalent of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ campaign, entitled ‘Work Out to Help Out’, to incentivise volunteers and participants to get involved, participate in organised sport and support the sporting infrastructure, both in England and across the UK,” they wrote.

The report also recommends a campaign similar to the public health message that encourages people to eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day.

“The proportion of children and young people not achieving the minimum amount of daily activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officer is of significant concern,” the committee said. “Before the end of this year, the government should initiate a nation-wide communications campaign, similar to that of the ‘5 A Day’ campaign, to emphasise the importance of children and young people engaging in at least 60 minutes of moderate activity every day.”

If Rishi Sunak’s cameo as a waiter is anything to go by, it won’t be long before we see MPs in their football kits.