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28 January 2016

Government flood funding announcement `totally inadequate`, says Council Leader

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Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, has responded to today's funding announcement by Government. 

Cllr Young said:

“This money is nowhere enough to get Cumbria back on its feet following the floods. With an estimated £500m of damage to our infrastructure, including £20m in the Lake District National Park alone, today’s funding announcement is totally inadequate.” 

“The government describes Cumbria and the Lake District National Park as a jewel in the crown of the British countryside, and it is. That is why we are urgently seeking a face to face meeting with Ministers to secure the amount of money that we need to fund Cumbria’s full recovery. It is now 8 weeks since the floods hit Cumbria and this has to be, and should be government’s, top priority.”


Full Government press release:-


*£2m of new funding announced to repair flood-damaged infrastructure across the Lake District National Park.

*£1m PR campaign announced to encourage British families to spend their Easter holidays in the North.

*Package builds on almost £15m funding from public and private sector to promote tourism to the north and holidays at home.

A package of measures to boost the North of England’s tourism industry and encourage British families to visit the region over the Easter break has been announced by the Prime Minister today.

The announcement comes ahead of a visit to Cumbria and Lancashire, where the PM will witness first hand how government investment is already helping businesses affected by December’s floods get back on their feet.

The new package will include £2 million of government funding which will be used to fix bridges, rebuild walls and restore footpaths across the iconic Lake District National Park.

And as part of this, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have identified 180 local apprentices who will be mobilised to help with the park’s repair effort.

It will also feature £1 million in new funding to launch a marketing campaign, co-ordinated by VisitEngland , encouraging British families to spend their Easter break in the North of England.

The package builds on the Government’s £10 million programme to grow tourism in the north, a new £4 million Holidays at Home are GREAT Campaign, and advertising space worth £500,000 has also been made available at Heathrow to promote flood affected areas.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“From York Minster to Honister Mine, Carlisle Castle to the Leeds Armories, the North has some of the most iconic tourist attractions the UK has to offer. So it is absolutely right that we do everything we can to make sure these businesses feel supported and ready to receive visitors.
“The measures we've announced today are an important step, showcasing the best the region’s tourist industry has to offer while helping one of its key attractions in the Lake District National Park get back on its feet.”

After weathering a record-breaking month of rainfall during December, rangers and volunteers have been surveying the Lake District National Park’s 1,400 bridges and 2,000 miles of paths.

The funding announced today will not only ensure that any damaged will be fixed as quickly as possible, but will ensure that many of these structures are reinforced to ensure they are resilient to flooding in the future.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss added:
“The Lake District National Park is a jewel in the crown of the British countryside, attracting visitors from around the world to walk, relax and unwind against a breath-taking backdrop.

The support we have promised today will help get those parts of the park in need of repair ready for visitors, so that families looking forward to their Easter and summer breaks can visit this stunning environment and back businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.”

The new £1 million DCMS-funded advertising campaign will launch on February 9 to coincide with the run-up to the February half-term and Easter holidays and will help showcase the world-leading attractions and stunning countryside Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and Lancashire have to offer.

The campaign will target audiences in London and the South East, using London Underground posters, national press, social media and radio as well as key markets in Scotland and the North.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: 
"We are ensuring that our tourism businesses are given as much support as possible as they recover from the recent floods.

“The message is clear - the region is full of world-class attractions that are very much open for business. This campaign will showcase the many fantastic places that are ready to welcome visitors in the coming weeks and months."

The government’s support comes after some businesses in affected areas reported a drop in bookings of up to 60 per cent. 

Tourism businesses that have been directly impacted by the flooding are eligible for BIS’ £6 million flood recovery grant.

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, has responded to today's funding announcement by Government.