Parliament: Countryside - Impact of hunt ban on jobs to be studied

AN INQUIRY into the impact of banning fox-hunting is to be announced by the Home Office with a commitment to give Government time to a backbench bill outlawing hunting with dogs. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, will announce the plans in a written answer in the Commons.

The Countryside Alliance led a rally of 16,000 people employed in fox-hunting to Labour's annual conference to highlight the number they claim would be thrown out of work by a ban on fox-hunting.

Tony Blair has ordered foxhunting legislation be given Government time. He is anxious to answer their claims over jobs and reassure middle-class country people who voted Labour in 1997.

Michael Foster, the Labour MP who led an earlier attempt to ban hunting, said: "A switch to drag hunting not only would protect existing jobs but would lead to a growth in employment as people who are ethically opposed to blood sports join hunting to follow a scent."

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