Emergency loans for businesses affected by foot and mouth restrictions have been arranged by the government, but calls are growing for compensation for small shops and other food businesses which have lost trade. The Rural Shops Alliance has written to minister of agriculture Nick Brown and minister for the environment Michael Meacher to ask for a compensation package for rural shops and post offices. RSA manager Sean Carter said: "We have already received reports of loss of sales in certain areas and that is before the holiday season gets under way. It is a case of great concern for the future of many village shops." Clare Cheney, director general of the Provision Trade Federation, said the outbreak is wreaking havoc on local business. She said: "Lack of access to the countryside means people are not spending money where they would normally spend it. The closure of footpaths in non-fmd areas is causing unnecessary alarm among the general public." This week emergency loans of up to £250,000 were made available to retailers affected by the epidemic. The new system is underwritten by the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme and open to businesses affected by fmd until December this year. Secretary of state for trade and industry Stephen Byers said: "It is important that businesses receive this help as quickly as possible and I am pleased to say the banks have agreed to treat with urgency all applications for loans from businesses affected by FMD." The Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme provides an 85% guarantee on loans, which encourages financial institutions to lend where they would normally turn an applicant away due to risk levels. Nineteen lenders currently participate. {{NEWS }}