Rural compensation fight to continue

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Related tags: Business, Small business

Rural licensees whose businesses have suffered because of foot-and-mouth disease have vowed to continue to fight for compensation.The licensees, who...

Rural licensees whose businesses have suffered because of foot-and-mouth disease have vowed to continue to fight for compensation.

The licensees, who are part of the recently formed UK Rural Business Network, marched on Westminster to demand help from the Government to save their pubs from bankruptcy.

The UK Rural Business Network is made up of small businesses from across Britain. It estimates businesses affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis have lost a total of £12.2bn with many pubs and other companies at risk of going under.

But according to Terry Franks (pictured)​ from the Cumbria Crisis Alliance and licensee of the Waverley Hotel in Penrith and the Royal Oak in Keswick, the fight goes on.

"The march went very well. We handed an invoice for £12.2bn into 11 Downing Street and the crowd cheered us on," he said.

"I think we had a good couple of hundred people there. It would have been nice to have taken more but these are all small business people who have laid off staff.

"It's expensive and difficult to take a day off."

Mr Franks said the licensees were determined not to give up the fight for compensation as well as more long term help for businesses that rely on tourism.

"We'll not give up until we get some sort of recognition from the Government," he said.

He added the licensees wanted to see a Government department dedicated to the tourist industry.

"The farmers have got the National Farmers' Union fighting their corner but we've got nothing and that shows in the fact they've got £6m compensation while we've just got promises of rate relief."

Environment minister Michael Meacher has announced various packages to aid businesses recovering from the effects of the crisis, but licensees do not think the help goes far enough.

Related topics: Legislation

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