Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 22nd March 2001.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Opposition Whip (Commons) 12:31 pm, 22nd March 2001

It has been estimated that the foot and mouth crisis will cost the economy more than £9 billion in the coming year. That loss will fall disproportionately on rural businesses and country towns. Following yesterday's debate on the disease, it is obvious that things are ping to get worse. Businesses involved in activities outside agriculture such as haulage, equestrianism and consultancy are now experiencing a catastrophic drop in t turnover. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition proposed an imaginative scheme for loans of £10,000 to afflicted businesses. My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Norfolk (Mr. Simpson) has kindly been granted a one-and-a-half hour debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday. Could that be upgraded to a full day's debate so that we can discuss the national crisis properly?