The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has written to Tony Blair in an appeal for urgent action to save hospitality businesses devastated by foot-and-mouth. The lobby group said rural pubs were expected to lose at least £5m over the Easter break because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The ALMR proposed a five point plan to the prime minister calling for the deferment of the proposed 11% increase in the national minimum wage for six months until next April; immediate interest free loans for up to £20,000; deferment of VAT, PAYE, NIC payments and tax liabilities for three months; doubling of rateable value thresholds to extend the number of businesses eligible for rate relief and consequential compensation.

Other organisations are also going into battle over the epidemic. The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA) puts losses within the pub industry at more than £1.2m a day. At least 22 pubs have been forced to close.

A BLRA survey has shown turnover in affected pubs down by an average 18% with up to 46% in some areas.

The British Institute of Innkeeping reported trade down by up to 97% at some pubs. Some outlets have been forced to cut back staff hours.

The British Hospitality Association's (BHA) post-Easter round up calculates the government's cash help for the UK tourist industry is about £20m short of what is needed for an effective worldwide marketing campaign.

The newsletter says the government has provided the English Tourism Council with £3.8m for its press and PR campaign, information line and business advice.

But it is the funding it has given the British Tourist Association - £2.2m on top of £2m of its own money - that it estimates falls wide of the mark. The Treasury is delaying a decision on this amount until is receives more evidence of the impact on the crisis.

The Institute of Directors warned the cost of the foot-and-mouth crisis could double to £40bn if it lasted until July. It found restaurants were among the worst hit sectors, apart from agriculture. The North East and Wales were the worst affected areas and London and the South East the least.