Support gathers for Newton Rigg College in Cumbria as all 6 Cumbrian MPs, Neil Hudson, Tim Farron, Mark Jenkinson, John Stevenson, Trudy Harrison and Simon Fell, stand united in firm support for its future. The collaboration of cross party support from the 6 Cumbrian MPs and Councillors across the region has been led by Dr Neil Hudson, Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border in the next stage of his campaign to secure a viable future for the Newton Rigg Campus.
The Newton Rigg Campus is a nationally-known Specialist Land Based College, as well as the Further Education College of the Eden Valley. The College has been providing education and supporting the community, specifically the Cumbrian farming community for over 124 years. Cumbria as a county is the second largest producer of red meat, and also the second largest milk field in the UK. Not only does Newton Rigg train people to go into the rural economy, it also plays a big role in training people to support the vital health and social care sector.
Dr Neil Hudson MP stated ‘I am thrilled to have the backing of my colleagues in Westminster and colleagues from Local Government in this critical campaign. Now more than ever, in this current Covid-19 crisis we must ensure this great institution remains and continues to play its vital role in supporting a strong and viable future for agriculture and food security in Cumbria and indeed the wider UK. Our unity is a clear message to the Further Education Commissioner’s Office and to Government Ministers - we will not stand back and let this precious campus disappear.’
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale said: ‘If Newton Rigg were to close it would be a massive blow to the Cumbrian agricultural sector which is the backbone of our local economy. We would see a huge decline in young people training to work in agriculture, with the nearest college offering similar qualifications being either in Dumfries or near Preston. That’s why it’s critical that local politicians of all colours work together to save Newton Rigg College.’
Cllr Stewart Young, Labour Leader of Cumbria County Council commented: ‘It is absolutely vital that we all work together to secure a future for Newton Rigg. The land based sectors of our economy are being badly affected by the current crisis, but they will be needed as one of the foundations on which we rebuild the Cumbrian economy, so I am delighted to support the campaign to retain this vital provision in the County.’
Neil followed up with ‘I will continue to work closely with my Cumbrian MP colleagues and colleagues in Local Government and stakeholders to support the campus and we will stand united when communicating our concerns to colleagues in Central Government. We must all do what we can to ensure the future of Newton Rigg, and I urge everyone across Cumbria and the country to show their support for the campus, its staff and its students, by signing the petition, below.