“Tourism must not suffer” says Conservative MEP, as he slams Lakes Information Centre closures.

Jobs are to be lost and tourist information centres closed in an attempt to plug a near £1 million deficit at the Lake District National Park Authority.

29 jobs are expected to be lost alongside the closure of three tourist information centres at Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston.

The Cumbria Tourist Board has criticised the move, claiming that it will have an adverse affect on the visitor numbers to the Lake District.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP for the North West of England and a former Minister with responsibility for English National Parks commented, “It is essential that the 12 million plus visitors who come every year should continue to see the best managed facilities and have information available throughout the area.”

Local businesses and the Cumbrian Tourist Board have previously criticised the financial management of the Park Authority and are bidding to set up a separate organisation -Infoco- to help visitors with information.

Sir Robert Atkins said:

“The Park Authority and DEFRA must get their acts together. The Lake District is hugely important to the economy, not just of Cumbria, but the whole North West of England. Money must be found by the Government to make up the shortfall, but equally the Park Authority’s reputation for poor financial management must be improved.”

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