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MP makes case for South Lakes to benefit from Levelling Up Fund

March 17, 2021 10:37 AM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, local MP Tim Farron said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on jobs and businesses in South Lakeland's visitor economy, should lead to the area being prioritised for the Government's Levelling Up Fund.

The methodology for the Fund has been widely criticised after the Chancellor's Richmond constituency and the Local Government Secretary's Newark constituency were both prioritised for investment.

Speaking during a ministerial statement in Parliament, Tim said: "During the pandemic, South Lakeland has had the biggest increase in unemployment and has the highest proportion of its workforce on furlough of any community in the country.

"Yet the Government has our community in the bottom priority for Levelling Up funding because it is using old, pre-pandemic data.

"The Lake District is Britain's biggest visitor destination outside of London, and so if the Government rethinks using accurate data and chooses to invest in the Lakes Line, in rural bus routes, in cycling, culture and our visitor economy here, it won't just be preventing hardship in our South Lakeland communities, it will boost the whole British economy.

"So will he rethink?"

Responding, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Eddie Hughes said: "The Government isn't going to be rethinking the data or the methodology that it applies to distributing this funding, but given the circumstances that he has set out I would strongly urge that he engages with ministers in the department because there are a significant number of funding streams available and I would like to think that one of them is a good fit for his constituency."