1 May 2001
Boost for towns in disease-hit areas

By FWi staff

MARKET towns in areas badly hit by foot-and-mouth disease are to benefit from a 43 million cash boost announced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Thirty English market towns in counties badly affected by the epidemic are among the 43 selected to receive up to 1 million.

New additions in infected counties include Hatherleigh, Okehampton and Great Torrington in Devon, and Haltwhistle, Alnwick and Barnard Castle in north-east England.

Forty-nine towns have already been earmarked for cash, and another 30 will be named shortly, says the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

And there will be a further announcement on support for towns in Cumbria, which has borne the brunt of the epidemic.

Announcing the latest additions during a visit to Market Drayton, Shropshire on Tuesday (01 May), Mr Prescott said the money would make a real difference.

“We are determined to help them find long-term solutions to the serious challenges they face, by transforming market towns into vibrant hubs of rural communities.”

The cash, the second part of a 100m programme announced in the Rural White Paper, will target regeneration, local transport and tourism initiatives.

Regional Development Agencies have worked with local authority partners and the Countryside Agency to select towns which they believe can benefit.

Government funding of 37m, along with matched EU funding and local contributions, is expected to exceed 100m and help 120 towns over three years.

A market towns toolkit website, developed by the Countryside Agency, was launched on Tuesday (01 May) to identify problems and exploit opportunities.

The toolkit is on the Countryside Agency website at www.countryside.gov.uk/market-towns

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