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UK floods: Government help for tourism businesses branded 'totally inadequate'

By Sophie Witts , 28-Jan-2016
Last updated on 28-Jan-2016 at 17:32 GMT2016-01-28T17:32:34Z

UK floods: Government help for tourism businesses branded 'totally inadequate'

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is among critics of a £15m Government funding package designed to help flood-hit tourism businesses in Cumbria.

The region was battered by floods last month – the wettest December in the UK on record – with many businesses hit with further damage this week as Storm Jonas reached the UK.

On Tuesday the Glenridding hotel in Penrith flooded for the fourth time since December, with its owners writing on Facebook that they were left ‘devastated, tired and defeated’.

The Government today announced a £15m funding package to promote tourism in the North of England in the wake of the disaster.

It includes £2m to repair damage across the Lake District National Park and a £1m PR campaign to encourage families to spend their Easter holidays in the area.

But Cumbria County Council said the floods had caused an estimated £500m damage to local infrastructure, including £20m in the Lake District National Park alone.

Councillor Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said the announcement was ‘totally inadequate’.

“This money is nowhere enough to get Cumbria back on its feet following the floods,” he said.

“It is now 8 weeks since the floods hit and this has to be, and should be government’s, top priority.”

Young said the Council was ‘urgently seeking’ a face to face meeting with Ministers to secure the money that was needed to fund Cumbria’s full recovery.

Martin Couchman OBE, deputy CEO of the BHA, said that while the PR campaign to support tourism was a ‘step in the right direction’, more action needed to be taken.

“Many business might be still out of action for Easter and therefore we would have preferred to see a longer term campaign to combat the devastation suffered by the two counties,” he said.

The Government funding comes after some businesses in affected areas reported a drop in bookings of up to 60 per cent.

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