Proposal means authority pool rate will double

Southern Swimming Pool, Castletown

Southern Swimming Pool, Castletown

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Contributions to the Southern Swimming Pool (SSP) from local authorities could more than double if a proposal put forward by the government is accepted.

The funding of the island’s three regional pools is under scrutiny as the government’s current contribution, of £1.5m is ‘unsustainable’. A group has been established to investigate alternative ways of financing the pools.

The SSP’s outstanding debt is £584,000, Ramsey’s is £5,171,566 and Peel’s £1,700,000.

The government wrote to local authorities outlining five options: raise the swimming pool rate from 2.5p to 6p; reduce the department’s contribution over time requiring pools to make additional savings; completely withdraw government running cost contributions; cease the subsidy and transfer costs to local authorities; create an all-island leisure rate, meaning a domestic rate increase of 57.6p.

Castletown Commissioners agreed last Monday that the preferred option is to increase the rate to 6p meaning the town contributing £15,000 (up from £6,000) towards the pool.

However, Port Erin Commissioners said this month that this was an ‘inequitable’ method of adding costs because the rating system is already flawed; they are content with the way the swimming pool is currently funded. PE commissioner Phil Crellin said the preferred route would be for the increased costs to be covered by income tax.

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