Devon close to meltdown

29 March 2001

Devon ‘close to meltdown’

By John Burns, south west correspondent

DEVONS rural economy is heading towards “meltdown” as a result of the foot-and-mouth crisis, claims the leader of county council.

A new report for Devon County Council predicts that up to 1200 farming jobs will be lost this year as a consequence of the epidemic which has swept the county.

Study authors at Exeter University Agricultural Economics Unit estimate that overall the crisis could cost the county 10,000 jobs and 280 million.

Alongside the farming and farm-related losses, 8700 jobs could be lost in the tourist industry.

Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade said the situation was close to meltdown as it had worsened since the study data were taken on 19 March.

“If the predicted 10,000 job losses related to a car plant or electronics manufacturer I think we would see major government support being announced,” he said.

Emergency powers have been given to the chief executive and a politically balanced advisory committee to cover the period until the annual meeting on 24 May.

The council has written to Tony Blair seeking special help and instructed officials to start work on an economic recovery programme.

Of the 753 cases of foot-and-mouth confirmed in the UK total by 15.30 on Thursday (29 March), 78 were in Devon.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks

Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage

See more