NFU President Ben Gill emerged from a meeting with the Prime Minister tonight having received a commitment that all possible resources will be directed at stamping out foot and mouth disease.

Mr Gill gave Tony Blair a full briefing on the nightmarish situation facing farmers and their huge anxieties that the disease could spread further.

Mr Gill said: "The Prime Minister reinforced the commitments made by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown that the Government will allocate all necessary resources to tackle the problem.

"In this extremely worrying situation it is helpful for the industry to have such reassurances from the Government that no efforts will be spared to rid the country of this terrible disease."

Mr Gill pressed home to the Prime Minister the fact that £200 million in agrimoney compensation available from Europe has still not been paid and said that there was a dire urgency to get this money into the farming community.

He said: "Payment of this compensation would send a very strong signal to farmers. We will be having further discussion on this and also on what other Government measures can be taken in the next few days."

Mr Gill again raised farmers' deep concerns about the number of people still travelling into the countryside and was given assurances that the Prime Minister understood the need to restrict public access if these problems continue.

Mr Gill also pressed home that it is crucial no meat is imported from any areas of the world that are experiencing or thought to be experiencing foot and mouth disease, an issue raised earlier today with the Minister.

He added: "I left the meeting feeling that the Prime Minister with a clear message that the next few days are crucial in the evolution of the disease.

"While we hope for the best, I continue to fear that we may see a considerable number of new cases before matters start to improve.

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this document, the NFU cannot accept liability for errors and omissions.  This information should not be regarded as constituting legal advice, and should therefore not be relied upon as such.  NFU©