Measures to boost tourism in the rural economy after the Foot and Mouth crisis have failed, according to new research.
Five years on from the disaster a report from the Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) at Newcastle University states the worst affected counties, Cumbria and Devon, have continued to fall behind national growth rates.
Researchers claim a key reason for this is the failure of Government policies designed to help local rural economies since Foot and Mouth.
It also says the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs set up to champion rural issues has been swamped by other political matters such as climate change.
The report says too much money went to the farming industry, which received £1.34b in compensation for livestock losses, while only £39m went to the Business Recovery Fund to help the devastated tourism industry get back on its feet.
Director of the CRE, professor Neil Ward, said: "The mishandling of the FMD outbreak meant an animal disease wrought havoc on non-farming businesses in rural areas. Those who suffered worst from the crisis have been let down."
By Chris Druce
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