PLANS to restrict the issuing of work visas to those earning £30,000 per year or more will have a severely damaging effect on Cumbrian tourist businesses, a Government minister has bene told.

A a meeting with immigration minister Caroline Nokes and hospitality industry leaders, MP Tim Farron urged her to scrap the plans, which he said would make it much harder to recruit staff.

“The £30,000 salary floor, which is almost twice the average wage in the hospitality sector, is completely unrealistic and seriously harmful to our vital local tourism industry,” explained the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP afterwards.

“There are over 20,000 non-UK staff working in our tourism and hospitality industry locally.

“And with only a few hundred people registered as unemployed in Westmorland and Lonsdale there is no untapped pool of local labour waiting to fill the thousands of vacancies this Government will force on the industry.

“The minister was very receptive to our case and I will continue to work with representatives from across the hospitality sector to encourage the Government to change their mind.”

Attending the meeting were leaders from leading Cumbrian businesses Lake District Country House, Windermere Lake Cruises and Mountain Goat Tours.

Also present at the Westminster meeting were representatives from UK Hospitality, Edwardian Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Nando’s and leading figures from the Beer and Pub Association.