Workington MP Mark Jenkinson says boosting transport links is the way to reboot our economy.

Mr Jenkinson’s comments come as the Government takes plans to reinstate the Keswick to Penrith railway line forward.

“This project will still have a benefit to people and businesses in my constituency, because it will make places like Cockermouth and Workington more accessible.

“It’s a huge opportunity for our towns as people will have easier access to Cumbria beyond the Lake District.”

But it’s not just tourism that will benefit from the project, according to the MP.

Sealy’s mattress manufacturing site in Aspatria is currently in consultation with its staff as parent company Silentnight Group looks to shut the Cumbrian operations.

Mr Jenkinson said: “While transport isn’t the driver of this closure, it is one of the difficulties cited by the senior managers I’ve been speaking to there - ultimately it adds costs which lead to decisions like this.

“If we want to attract new businesses, we really need to look at these transport links.”

Mr Jenkinson added that if the Keswick to Penrith line was to be given the go-ahead by the Government, a case could be explored to also re-open the line to Cockermouth.

“I make no promises that it will open again, but it does open up those conversations if there’s a business case to support that. These projects do take a long time to come to fruition, so it is important that we start talking about it.”

This week, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that a preferred route to upgrade the A66 between Penrith and Scotch corner had been agreed and plans to turn the section into a dual carriage road can now proceed to the next step.

Mr Jenkinson hopes this will unlock investment to improve the Brigham/Broughton junction and Ramsay Brow in the Workington constituency.

He said: “I support an expression of interest into funding improvements at Ramsay Brow and Hall Brow, because that would open up a huge amount of employment land and relieve traffic on the A596, for example from wood wagons.”

Mr Jenkinson added other conversations had also already taken place with the Transport Secretary around the A595.

“We have to improve these transport links or they will hold us and our economy back.”