MP calls for park funding review

THE formula for National Park funding should be reviewed, according to MP Sir Alan Beith.

Speaking in the House of Commons,he said: “Will Ministers look again at the funding of Northumberland National Park, because pro-rata cuts hit very hard the least well-funded national park, which suffers from what is known to be an unsatisfactory distribution of funding between national parks?”

The Minister replied: “I am well aware of the National Park’s concerns. I have to be cautious because I believe that there might be legal proceedings under way, but I am a firm fan of what it does.

“It is important to note that the national parks will go back, as a collective group, to the funding of about five years ago. Life did not stop in the national parks back then, they did a lot of good stuff then and they will continue to do a lot of good work in future.”

Speaking after the exchange, Sir Alan said: “The funding formula for the national parks is known to be flawed and making cuts based on that formula is making the situation extremely difficult for the Northumberland National Park, which has planned to close the visitor centres at Rothbury and Ingram to save money.

“I hope to persuade the Ministers responsible to look again at how the disproportionate impact of the cuts is causing particular problems in Northumberland.”