UK - Health club operator LA Fitness has urged the government to give tax breaks to companies which offer employees gym membership.
Chief executive Fred Turok claimed the move would send out positive signals that ministers wanted to tackle the nation’s growing obesity problems.
He said: “We want companies that do contribute to gym membership to be allowed to offset it against pre-tax profits rather than have it treated as a ‘benefit in kind’ paid for by the employee.
“Companies should also be offered incentives – in the form of tax breaks – to provide in-house gyms.”
Turok raised the issue with 80 MPs at an event hosted by LA Fitness and TOAST – The Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust.
The move followed studies which showed that more than 60% of Britons were overweight with a third of those classified as “clinically obese”.
Turok said: “There are many people struggling with their weight who, for a variety of reasons, would not normally choose to visit a gym.
“We are hoping that by raising awareness of how to prevent and tackle obesity at government level – including the promotion of employer-led schemes – we will be able to collectively reduce the problem.”
Turok conceded that tax breaks would help LA Fitness but claimed the “real winner” would be the taxpayer as obesity currently costs the health service around £3.5bn a year.
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