So what you are saying is that swimming is the answer to all lifes problems (healthwise)? It could be argued that there is an adverse effect if it helps you live longer, in that it will inevitably cost us more money in the long-term (pension, healthcare, other benefits etc).
You will never get me to agree with the council or indeed any public fund, providing selected lesuire and entertainment services for free to the minority whilst we are in such deep dodo. If people can't afford to go swimming, or moreso would rather spend their hard-earned (and not so hard-earned) down the Pub
or on a new pair of shoes, that is their choice, I pay for everything in my life, and I expect to do so, I don't expect the government or council to start paying my electric and automotive costs (both of which are far more essential for my own well-being and cost-saving to the economy than offering the odd free/reduced-rate swimming scheme).
If the minority go swimming already, there is a reason for that; no amount of offers will entice people to suddenly take up something they have little interest in participating in, and unless they were to permenantly reduce/remove the cost of swimming, I doubt many, if anyone, would continue once the offer has finished. You only have to look at what happens everytime a sporting event is on, to notice how quickly novelties wear off (in Summer 2003 for instance, for two weeks or so following Englands triump in the World Cup, every kid on the street thought it was coold to be playing rugby - that lasted 2 weeks, after which, they went back to playing football as per ususal).
It still boils down to what is more important, to me, providing essential services to the elderly and disabled is far far more important than offering reduced-rate or free swimming. As I say, if someone wants to swim, they have the choice to make, either go to the Pub
, buy thier new shoes, or go for a swim. If someone is incapable of doing some tasks in life, through diability or age, and just needs a little help and support, that is not a choice, and these vulnerable people should be the priority in this day and age of austerity.
It just smacks to me of "times are going to be tough for everyone" - but not if you like swimming. In these times of deep financial cuts to essential public services, it should be about getting our priorities right, and targetting the money to where it is needed most, not to shite like swimming, tennis etc...
Meanwhile, I shall be expecting the council to start offering free Theramin lessons, because I have one sitting in my flat, but have no idea how to play it. Sod the elerly, my Theramin is obviously more important...