David Cameron unveils support package to boost tourism across flood-hit north
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David Cameron unveils support package to boost tourism across flood-hit north

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Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a multi-million pound funding pot to help repair infrastructure damaged by floods and drive a campaign to promote tourism in the north of England.

During a visit to Cumbria and Lancashire last week, where the Prime Minister surveyed the damage caused by December’s devastating floods and the ongoing rebuilding efforts, Cameron pledged support for the regions through a raft of measures.

Efforts to entice visitors to the UK beyond London have been a key focus for Cameron, who last year announced a five-point plan to boost regional tourism.

The new flood support package will include £2m of government funding which will be used to fix bridges, rebuild walls and restore footpaths across the iconic Lake District National Park. 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 £1m 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.

“From York Minster to Honister Mine, Carlisle Castle to the Leeds Armouries, the north has some of the most iconic tourist attractions the UK has to offer,” said Cameron.

“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 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.”

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. 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.

But despite the government pledges of support, the announcements were criticised by Stewart Young, the leader of Cumbria County Council, who said it was not nearly enough.

“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,” said Young.

“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.”

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