A SENIOR councillor hopes that a week-long promotion that allows Powys County Council staff to use Freedom Leisure facilities for free, will see them “become regular customers”.
The offer to council staff has been criticised by Welshpool Llanerchyddol councillor Graham Breeze.
Independent group deputy Cllr Breeze had received complaints from residents about the deal who are unhappy with price hikes at The Flash leisure centre in Welshpool in light of the deal being revealed.
He urged the cabinet to condemn the freebie in light of the current cost of living crisis.
Cllr Graham Breeze has tabled five questions on the issue to Liberal Democrats Cllr James Gibson Watt the Powys and cabinet member for a more prosperous Powys, which includes the leisure portfolio, Cllr David Selby.
Under the rules of questions at any time, Cllrs Gibson-Watt and Selby have 10 working days to respond and answer the questions.
In response to the claims, Liberal Democrat Cllr David Selby, has hit back and believes the deal encourages staff to lead healthy lifestyles in the hope it reduces sickness levels and improves work productivity.
Cllr Selby said: “By encouraging our workforce to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, not only will it benefit our staff as individuals, but it will benefit the council as an organisation as it could reduce sickness levels and increase productivity.
“Our leisure partner, Freedom Leisure, run a number of promotions throughout the year to encourage people to use their local centre so that they live an active and healthy life.”
Cllr Selby explained that Freedom Leisure run a number of promotions throughout the year to encourage people to use their leisure facilities and this includes working with “local businesses and public bodies” to offer workplace physical activity opportunities, exclusive offers and staff health and wellbeing support.
“Freedom Leisure are currently running an Active Workforce Week promotion which is aimed at council employees where they can claim a free seven-day pass.
“We hope that those who claim the free pass go on to become a regular customer at their nearest centre.”
Cllr Selby stressed: “We encourage our residents and our staff to lead active and healthy lifestyles.
“This would improve their quality of life including having a positive influence on their mental health.
“One way that they can achieve this is by visiting their local leisure centre.”
Not for profit company Freedom Leisure manages over 100 leisure and cultural venues including over 60 swimming pools on behalf of local authority partners across England and Wales including including facilities in Wrexham County Borough Council and Swansea Council.
Their annual energy bill has risen by £8million to £20 million and they have been trying to ask the UK Government for an energy support plan to help the leisure industry.