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Levelling Up White Paper fails to help rural Cumbria - MP

February 2, 2022 4:14 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, local MP Tim Farron accused the Government of neglecting rural communities in their new Levelling Up White Paper.

Speaking in Parliament Tim said: "I am really concerned that there is very little concern in this document when it comes to levelling up the rural parts of our country.

"In Cumbria we have three hour round trips for cancer treatment, a threat to our local A&E department, and the fact that our villages and communities are being cleared by second homes and Airbnb.

"I would be delighted to work with the Secretary of State, constructively and I would love it if he would agree to meet with me so we could talk about some answers to the housing catastrophe not just in Cumbria but the rest of rural Britain."

Responding, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove said: "I have to say I agree with almost everything that the honourable gentleman said.

"Firstly, it is important that we focus on rural poverty.

"Secondly, that there are unique issues in Cumbria. Local government reorganisation - the creation of a new local authority in Cumberland and a new one in Westmorland with Barrow - will contribute to making sure we have a proper focus on it, but we need to go further.

"He's also right actually that the issues of second homes and the impact that it has on local economies is a complex one. We're not in the right place yet and I do want to work with him and other colleagues to address it."