Poultry farmers help boost UK economy

The British poultry industry has stepped up its contribution to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the past 12 months – up from £3.3bn to £3.6bn, according to a new analysis by Oxford Economics*.

The report, commissioned by the British Poultry Council, shows that UK sales of poultrymeat have also increased 13% in value, to £6.9bn, maintaining its position as the country’s most popular meat – ahead of beef, lamb and pork combined.

See also: Last year’s “state of the industry” report

Exports of poultrymeat also grew, up 6.6% from £286m to £305m in 2014, predominantly based on sales to other EU countries.

Imports were more static, but still exceeded exports, being valued at over £1bn. This is mostly higher-valued breast meat, while exports are dominated by lower-value dark meat cuts.

As the poultry sector’s overall contribution to GDP has increased, so too have tax receipts – up by 10% to £1.1bn, equivalent to £43 for every household in the UK.

The number of jobs the industry supports has also increased, by more than 8%, to 79,300, compared with just 73,200 a year ago, both directly and through its wider supply chain.

Writing in the foreword to this year’s report – the second in the series – BPC chairman John Reed points to the significant growth opportunities for the industry in the future, especially for exports.

But he warns that “any trade agreements must also reinforce the commitment of the UK industry to a ‘farm to fork’ hygiene approach and ensure a level playing field on production standards”.

He welcomed the introduction of a Great British Food Unit to help promote local foods around the world and said he was encouraged by the government’s focus on boosting British food production for the domestic market.

“British poultry is an affordable, sustainable and nutritious meat and we firmly believe it should be eaten in all our schools, hospitals and by our armed forces.”

BPC chief executive Andrew Large added that the industry needed to be able to upgrade its capital assets to meet the growing demand.

“That’s why we have written to the Chancellor and asked him to consider maintaining the annual capital investment allowance in plant and machinery at its current level as part of his Summer Budget next week.

“We appreciate there are many demands on public finances, but this would make a huge difference to the industry and help it increase its contribution to UK GDP even further.”

* Economic Impact of the British Poultry Meat Industry 2015, is commissioned by the British Poultry Council, and prepared by Oxford Economics