DEFRA secretary of state Margaret Beckett has pledged a £24m boost for businesses suffering due to foot and mouth. The move follows the publication of rural recovery co-ordinator Lord Haskins' report into effects of the outbreak in Cumbria. Beckett said Cumbria would take the "lion's share" of the money which will be allocated through regional development agencies, but other parts of the country would benefit as well. Haskins' report lists measures to promote recovery of the tourism and small business economy in Cumbria, the region worst hit. Recommendations include finance for a generic advertising aimed at the domestic market, an the injection of an extra £40m into the Business Recovery Fund, further funding for the Business Links Service, and setting the Regional Development Agencies as the catalyst for overseeing and targeting support for all sections of the rural economy. Northern Foods chairman Lord Haskins was appointed rural recovery co-ordinator by the prime minister in August. The NFU welcomed Haskins' report. Deputy president Tim Bennett said: "These recommendations would help the rural economy, but the need to get agriculture back into the black must remain the priority." {{NEWS }}