§ Mr. Peter Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received from the UK Rural Business Campaign concerning the level of compensation available to rural businesses affected by foot and mouth disease; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Margaret Beckett
[holding answer 4 December 2001]: I am not aware of any recent representations from the UK Rural Business Campaign on this specific issue. The Government do not accept a liability to compensate businesses affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the measures taken to control it. The Government have put in place a package of measures to help affected businesses, including the £74 million Business Recovery Fund, enhanced central support for hardship rate relief granted by local authorities, and interest-free deferral of income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions.