PROMISING swimmers could be priced out of training because of an increase in council charges, it is being claimed.

Families of children who take part in the Elite Competition Swimming scheme at the City of Bradford Swimming Club have been told prices will go up.

A spokeswoman for the club said each member of the Elite Competition Swimming scheme run by Bradford Council had received a letter quoting price increases. The scheme has been running for almost 35 years and has provided numerous individuals the stepping stone to reach Yorkshire, North East, National Summer and Winter Championships.

She said the council had written to inform the parents of a 52 per cent increase from December 2019 to March 2022 over three periods. Parents who pay £79 now will have to pay £120 in 2022.

The substantial increase means there are fears that some children will be unable to continue with the training.

Cllr Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: “I have been contacted by a few residents in Ilkley but one in particular whose son is a promising swimmer at competition level. She already contributes a lot on a weekly basis to enable him to take part in competition swimming. This increase is the straw that could break the camel’s back and more to the point her budget."

A Council spokesperson said: “Bradford Council has been reviewing budgets for its sport and leisure facilities in response to the ongoing budget reductions which have affected all Council departments and services. We have already introduced numerous service efficiencies and budget saving initiatives. Unfortunately we now find ourselves in the position of having to increase the fees for our elite competition swimming and diving schemes. The increases are only the costs of coaching and any extra swimming pool hire, such as Bradford Grammar School Pool - the use of council operated swimming pool time is free of charge to the scheme.

“We are conscious that, unfortunately, the increases are well above the rate of inflation and may cause problems for some families. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. We have kept the increases as low as we can whilst still being able to provide training within current budgets.”