SOUTH LAKES MP Tim Farron has called for the National Trust to protect family farms in Cumbria and not allow them to be sold off as second homes.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the conservation charity, Mr Farron said: “The trust obviously employs a vast number of people in the Lake District; the jobs of many of them are now at risk, which is deeply concerning. It also owns ​a huge amount of land and acts as landlord to important hill farmers, who are essential in maintaining the heritage of our landscape.

“The trust should do everything it can to act as a landlord that encourages succession on those farms, rather than turning the buildings into second homes or holiday lets. Payments coming into the farming industry should go towards the maintenance of those family farms.”