CUMBRIA County Council should provide grants for community pubs and help them host community services like shops, post offices and other community facitlites, says Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

He has also called on both South Lakeland and Eden district councils to list community pubs as 'community assets', a move which could help safeguard their future.

The MP spoke out after signing a parliamentary motion backing community pubs and asking the Government to promorte the take-up of rural rate relief for pubs.

He said: "In many villages throughout Cumbria the pub is the hub of community life. Many of them have struggled in the last few years because of high duty and lots of red tape. I hope that we convince the Government to support the British Beer and Pub Association and CAMRA's Better Rates for Pubs campaign to extend small business rate relief for pubs beyond April 2014.

“But locally we could look to bring back services to villages by working together – bringing the post office, councils and residents together. If we can bring more services like post offices, shops and internet cafes into pubs we can bring community facilities back and help give local pubs a sustainable future.”