Rural Task Force launched to combat effects of Foot and Mouth
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Rural Task Force launched to combat effects of Foot and Mouth

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The Northumberland Club
£40k-£45k depending on experience
location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Gedling Borough Council
£21,748 to £23,080 per annum
location: Calverton and Redhill Leisure Centres, Nottingham, United Kingdom
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As a new Rural Task Force is launched, chaired by the Minister of State for the Environment, Michael Meacher, various initiatives to help the leisure and tourism industries are being aired, as the Foot and Mouth crisis deepens across the UK and now in mainland Europe. Mary Lynch, chief executive of The English Tourist Council, said the ETC has welcomed the invitation to join the Rural Economy Task Force: Our main aim is to get clarification on what tourists can and cannot do and to help the tourism industry recover quickly once the current restrictions have been lifted. After emergency talks on Tuesday, ministers have decided to urge councils to reopen footpaths and open spaces in areas judged free of hot-and-mouth disease in an effort to ease the devastating impact of the outbreak on rural tourism. The government is expected to divide the country into three categories according to the level of risk. Areas so far free of any cases, would be designated clear of foot and mouth and there considered safe for visitors under carefully controlled conditions. It is hoped this move will go some way to alleviate the impact on tourism which is losing an estimated £100m each week. Countryside tourism in England is worth £12bn a year to the economy with about £9bn of that coming from day trips. The tourism industry supports about 380,000 jobs. The British Hospitality Association is asking the government to impose a moratorium on the next VAT payment for the hotel and restaurant industry until the foot and mouth crisis has passed. Bob Cotton, chief executive, says that hoteliers, particularly those in the countryside, have seen their takings disappear in the last two weeks: Staff have had to be laid off; there appears to be no immediate end to the crisis either. While horse-racing in the UK has been severely disrupted by Foot and Mouth, in France - where the first outbreak on mainland Europe has been confirmed, the sport has been suspended only in two provincial areas. However, the three-day Cheltenham Festival has been rescheduled to start on 17 April and French Agriculture Minister, Jean Glavany, has given the go-ahead for Saturday's Six Nations match between France and Wales.

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As a new Rural Task Force is launched, chaired by the Minister of State for the Environment, Michael Meacher, various initiatives to help the leisure and tourism industries are being aired, as the Foot and Mouth crisis deepens across the UK and now in mainland Europe.
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