BSE crisis totals £1bn – but job losses fewer
THE BSE crisis cost the UK economy almost £1bn in its first year, according to a report commissioned by the government.
But while the net loss to the economy was between £740m and £980m in the 12 months following the announcement of a probable link between BSE and new variant CJD in humans, government subsidies to the industry covered all but £81m of the £806m loss in beef sales.
The report, Economic Impact of BSE on the UK Economy, was prepared by DTZ Pieda Consulting for the Treasury and agriculture departments. It showed demand for British beef and beef products fell by 36% in the year from Mar 20, 1996. But predictions of up to 46,000 job losses failed to materialise. Instead, BSE resulted in no more than 1000 job losses in the first year.
A switch by wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers away from beef to other meats offset much of the potential impact of the crisis on the economy, the report said. *