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MP launches 'Love Local' campaign

January 10, 2013 6:09 PM

TF 9South Lakes MP Tim Farron has asked residents to 'put the heart back into the high street and buy local' as part of his campaign to boost the local economy.

After meeting last week with local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, Tim is already acting on the concerns raised at the meeting.

Tim has asked the council to see if Kendal could host a multi day Christmas Market. He has asked local councillor Phil Dixon, who regularly takes his crepe business down to Birmingham's Christmas Market, to advise on if this to see if Kendal could learn from other successful Christmas markets. In Birmingham the market runs for a month in the run up to Christmas, attracting an average of three million visitors a year and brings millions into the local economy.

Tim has also called on the council to support local producers by backing local markets and farmers markets throughout South Lakeland. Tim recently praised Cumbria's food and brewing sector and called them the 'best in the UK'. A report released last year by the Campaign for Protection of Rural England (CPRE) called 'From field to fork: The value of England's local food webs', argues that local food offers a great opportunity to support vibrant town centres and countryside. The report found that across England local food outlets serve an estimated 16.3 million customers a week and that local food sales through independent outlets generate £2.7 billion a year for the economy. These outlets support over 100,000 jobs, 61,000 of which are directly attributable to local food sales.

Tim said: "Kendal and the South Lakes are bucking the trend - we have far fewer empty shops than just about any other major town centre in the north of England, but there are still too many. We are relatively successful because we do not take our success for granted, businesses, local residents and the local council working together can make a massive difference. That's why I am launching the Love Local campaign so that here in South Lakeland we can work together to make our own luck and continue to buck the trend.

"There are some things we could try and do right away. One of those is to see if we could have a Christmas Market on a large scale. Kendal is the type of place where a Christmas market could flourish and really work. I also want the council and local businesses to work together to sell Kendal as a destination. We have a brilliant product - its time we made sure that we marketed that product in a more concerted way."