Funding for Cumbria Tourism is slashed by half

Image caption, Cumbria Tourism is to have its budget slashed by half

The budget to promote tourism in Cumbria is to be cut by half with the loss of 23 jobs, it has been revealed.

The chief executive of Cumbria Tourism, Ian Stephens, said the axing of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) was forcing a "restructure".

The NWDA had been donating £1.3m a year to Cumbria Tourism since 2004.

Mr Stephens was speaking ahead of a visit by Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose, who is due to visit Cumbria on Tuesday.

He will meet Mr Stephens for a tour of Kendal's new shopping centre, K Village.

Mr Stephens said: "We are facing quite a significant cut in our budget in the next financial year - around 53% is going to disappear.

"That means jobs as well, sadly, will go with around half of our staff being made redundant.

"This is not the end of Cumbria Tourism - the action we are taking is to address a change in how we will be funded in the future.

"We must reset what we do to ensure that the Lake District and Cumbria continues to be professionally promoted as a place to visit - irrespective of the new financial climate in the public sector."

Cumbria attracts 15.3m visitors a year who contribute £1.1 billion to the local economy and supports around 36,000 jobs, according to Cumbria Tourism figures.

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