Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Red meat’s vital economic role


It’s confirmed what we’ve known all along the English red meat industry is crucial to the economy making a swift recovery.

The Real Value of English Red Meat Economic Analysis revealed a thriving English red meat industry makes a net contribution of £1.67 billion to the economy. Other significant findings included the English economy would lose £906 million in contributions to employment alone if the red meat sector became unsustainable.

Of the 96,000 people currently directly employed by the industry, 91,000 in rural areas, just over 20 per cent (20,256) would face unemployment if the English red meat sector was to cease. The demand created by farming in allied industries currently helps support an additional 772,998 jobs.

It certainly makes for interesting reading, especially in the wake of Chancellor’s recent Budget statement that we should not be shy about identifying our successful industries. Clearly, the red meat industry falls into this category and has an important role to play.

The report was produced by Matrix Evidence, which provides analysis for policy and management through operational research, economic appraisals and public policy evaluations, commissioned by ourselves and our BPEX sister division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). It is the first analysis of its kind to look at the net contribution of the industry, painting the most realistic possible picture of the value the sector brings to the economy. A draft of the report was presented to Farming Minister Jim Paice and a select group of MPs and Peers in February.

Clearly, the figures speak for themselves and with economic growth and job creation high on the agenda, a thriving English red meat sector’s contribution, in terms of value added to the economy and contribution to employment levels, is clear. It is unfortunate that the sector is too often the subject of negative reports, rather than giving equal prominence to its role as a positive force for the country.

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