BRIO Leisure has been criticised for ‘penalising’ pensioners with a whopping price hike on their gym membership. 

From July 1, the cost of a monthly health and fitness membership for over-75s will shoot up from £9 per month to £15 per month, an eye-watering 67 per cent increase.   

The council's sport and leisure company says it has 'no other option' after a 158 per cent jump in their utility bills, along with regular maintence, staffing, and equipment costs. 

One Northwich resident, who wants to remain anonymous, says his mum has a Brio over-75s membership, and it feels like pensioners are being ‘penalised’.

He said: “I know there are cost-of-living pressures all round, but putting a 67 percent increase on over-75s is disgraceful.

“My mum goes two or three times each week to use the treadmill and step machines, and it’s a really important part of her life.

“Lots of older people use the gym, and Brio are always going on about how important this is for them, and how exercise is a fantastic way for older people to get out of the house.

“The reason I’ve raised it is not just for my mum’s sake - she’ll continue pay because she wants to use they gym. I’ve raised the issue on behalf of all over-75s.  

“It seems strange to penalise them by an increase of this amount when we want our parents and grandparents to stay fit and healthy.

“If you look at it one way, it’s only £6 extra per month, but for some pensioner, that’s a lot.

“The issue is that it’s 67 per cent, which could force many to quit.

“How can they justify that?

“It doesn’t look like the subscription is going up for other users. My wife’s monthly fee certainly hasn’t gone up to that extreme.  

“I just can’t see why you’d penalise the over-75s.”

A spokesman for Brio Leisure said: “We can no longer maintain our current prices without compromising the quality of service available.

“We are now faced with substantially higher costs, including tackling a 158 per cent increase in our utility spend.

“We have aimed to keep our membership affordable for everyone in the community by freezing our prices, but regrettably, we have reached a point where we have no other option but to increase them.

"We understand this news may come as a disappointment, and we want to assure members this was not a decision that we made lightly.

"We have explored every possible option to avoid this situation but, regrettably, we can no longer maintain our current prices without compromising the quality of service available.

"We understand this may be a challenging time for all our members and our community, and we want to be as transparent and supportive as possible."

The Guardian has asked Brio Leisure to confirm whether similar increases can be expected in other membership categories.