13 March 1998
BSE crisis cost £1bn in first year
By Johann Tasker
THE BSE crisis cost the UK economy almost £1 billion in its first year, according to a Government report released today (Friday). But government support helped cushion the country from the full financial impact.
The report estimates that the net loss to the economy was between £740 million and £980 million after the government admitted a probable link between BSE and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
In the twelve months after March 1996, however, government subsidies reduced an £806 million loss in beef sales to a loss of just £81 million.
Demand for British beef and beef products fell by 36% but predictions of up to 46,000 job losses failed to materialise. Instead, BSE resulted in no more than 1,000 job losses in the 12 months to April 1997, the study says.
A switch by wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to non-beef meat offset between a half and two thirds of the potential impact of the crisis on the economy.
The report, Economic Impact of BSE on the UK Economy, was commissioned by the previous government and carried out by DTZ Pieda Consulting.