AN MP has asked the public to reach out to him if they find themselves in need with the third national lockdown set to place ‘innumerable pressures’ on communities.

Simon Fell’s comments came after the prime minister announced people would only be allowed to leave their homes for certain, listed reasons until ‘at least’ the middle of February.

Mr Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said : “This isn’t the situation that any of us want to be in, but this new variant of coronavirus is running rife through the country.

“While Barrow and South Lakes are not yet in the position of the north of the county, or indeed much of the rest of the country, it is clear that rates are rising and in a way that can only be explained by this mutation.”

He stressed, however, that the vaccine rollout currently under way was a ‘light at the end of this very long tunnel’.

He acknowledged that the lockdown would place strain on communities.

“If you need help or support, please do reach out to me and my team and I will assist in any way we can,” he said.

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron said lockdown was, ‘regrettably, the correct course of action’.

“The vaccines have given us real hope that the end is in sight, but it would be utterly heartbreaking to lose loved ones to this virus just weeks before they were set to be vaccinated,” he said.

“I know the coming weeks and months are going to be really tough in all sorts of ways.

“But our friends, neighbours and loved ones working in our NHS need us now, more than ever, to do our bit.

“So let’s do it for them – let’s stay at home and save lives.”

He called on the government to do ‘everything they can to protect local jobs and businesses’.

Cumbria Tourism and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns about the hit to a county heavily reliant on tourism.

Suzanne Caldwell, managing director of the chamber of commerce, said a lack of consistency from the government made it ‘impossible’ for businesses to plan ahead - pointing to Cumbria being thrust from Tier 2 to Tier 4 to a national lockdown in the space of just a week.

Ms Caldwell said the chamber was aware of a hospitality business in the Lake District that expected to lose £200,000 due to the new lockdown.

In Cumbria: MANAGING DIRECTOR: Suzanne Caldwell, of Cumbria Chamber of CommerceMANAGING DIRECTOR: Suzanne Caldwell, of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

“The chancellor has announced one-off grants of up to £9,000 for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure,” she said.

“That’s a help, and we’re pleased he’s acted quickly, but it won’t fully compensate businesses for the loss of trade.”

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, described the lockdown announcement as the ‘news that nobody wanted to hear’.

“Cumbria’s tourism sector, which supports 65,000 jobs in the county, has done everything asked of it and more by government, and the financial impact has been colossal, with two thirds of the value of the visitor economy wiped out in 2020.

“It is therefore absolutely critical that the government provides a sector-specific package to ensure jobs are saved and businesses are ready to reopen when lockdown restrictions are eased once again.”

She said the chancellor’s announcement was ‘welcomed’ but that Cumbria Tourism was ‘analysing the detail to ensure all aspects of the industry are adequately supported’.