The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods has refused to pay compensation to rural pubs forced to close because of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Many pubs have been forced to close and send staff home, such as the Forest Inn, in the middle of Dartmoor, the latest area to be affected by the highly infectious disease.

Such pubs rely on ramblers and farmers for their business. Much of the countryside has been cut off in an attempt to stem the crisis.

Restaurants are suffering in areas where major sporting events have been cancelled.

However, big chains look unlikely to suffer from any potential shortage of meat supplies, as most have guaranteed deals with their suppliers.