THREE thousand Huntingdonshire swimmers will have to pay for their time in the pool following the cuts in Government spending.

THREE thousand Huntingdonshire swimmers will have to pay for their time in the pool following the cuts in Government spending.

Free swimming for the over 60s has been axed across England after ministers felt it was not good value for money.

The scheme, which was introduced last year, will end on Saturday (July 31) in a bid to save £40million.

According to Huntingdonshire District Council, which manages the leisure centres in St Neots, St Ives, Sawtry, Ramsey and Huntingdon, 3,000 over-60s in Huntingdonshire took advantage of the free swimming.

A spokesman for HDC said: "The new coalition Government has reviewed the scheme and decided to cease the funding. Naturally, we are disappointed, but we do not have funding for this to continue, so sadly we have to stop free swimming for over-60s.

"We have written to all the over-60 swimmers through our membership system because we wanted to explain the situation fully to them.

"We are reinstating a charge for this age group from the beginning of August and, because we hope they will continue swimming with us, we have created a special discounted annual pass - offering a 30 per cent discount on the 'normal' adult swim pass."

But the move has been met with anger.

An Eaton Socon woman, who swims once a week at leisure centre pool in St Neots, said: "I think it's really sneaky. I like to do some gentle swimming and now I will have to pay £3.20.

"I know the country is struggling but why should pensioners be punished?"

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she could not afford to pay a lump sum for the annual swim pass.

INFORMATION: Adult prices for swimming range from £3.20 (with a membership card) to £4 or £26 for a 30-day pass and £225 for an annual pass.