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Farron calls on Government to aid flood recovery by investing in local tourism

November 25, 2009 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to provide more financial assistance to business centres in South Lakeland devastated by last week's floods, after the PM pledged to give just £1million to help aid Cumbria's economic recovery.

Businesses in Bowness, Windermere and Ambleside have been worst effected by the floods, but even communities that have not been flooded have seen a dramatic drop in visitor numbers in the last week with some individual businesses reporting a 90% drop in turnover in the past week.

Given that tourism in Cumbria is worth £1.5billion a year, with around £500million of this figure going straight to the Treasury in taxes, Mr Farron has called on the Government to invest in the marketing and promotion of Cumbria and the Lake District to encourage the recovery of the local economy.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"For many businesses in South Lakeland, the floods have caused a huge amount of devastating damage to property. But many businesses that have not been flooded are also suffering because the general message being put out there is that the Lake District and Cumbria is closed for business.

"The Government should be investing in the marketing and promotion of the Lake district and Cumbria brand over the next few weeks to let people know that we remain very much open for business.

"Cumbria Tourism has an annual budget of just £1 million per year. That is clearly inadequate at the best of times, but it is absolutely inadequate for trying to rebuild the reputation of a local economy that has been enormously damaged by the devastation of the past few days.

"We need to be able to sell our communities and our tourism product, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Given the benefit of tourism to the Exchequer, the Government should be looking to invest at least £20million in marketing for Cumbria to give our area the best chance to recover."