UK – British poultry meat production is underpinning a £6.1 billion industry, a commissioned report analysing the economic impact of the sector in 2012 said last week.
This contributes £3.3 billion to UK Gross Domestic Product directly through supply chain and wage impacts, according to latest figures from Oxford Economics on behalf of the British Poultry Council.
The amount spent by the sector on input goods and services was pegged at £1.6 billion. The report added that processors spent more than farms at 53 per cent of overall spend.
In employment terms, UK poultry meat production supported over 73,000 jobs in 2012.
Of these, 35,400 are directly employed in the industry – 29 per cent in poultry livestock production and 71 per cent in meat processing.
The industry's combined tax contribution to the Exchequer for 2012 was calculated at £200 million. Of this, 39 per cent was employee income tax, with 33 per cent coming from National Insurance.
In addition to monetary benefits, the report detailed the sector's effect on boosting skills in the workforce.
Reacting to the study, Farming Minister George Eustice said this was vital for addressing a skills shortage across the agri-foods and manufacturing sector as a whole.
"School leavers are often under-equipped in the relevant skills needed for manufacturing, be it in food, aircraft or automobiles,” said Mr Eustice. “However, it’s a testament to the poultry industry’s tenacity and belief in its people that it has worked to address this skills gap.”
“The industry invests in its people and has undertaken a series of programmes, including its new schools packs, to increase awareness of careers in the industry.
He added: “Combined with a series of funding initiatives, from NVQ to PHD level, the industry is on track to ensure a successful future.”
Stronghold areas for poultry processing were detailed as Northern Ireland, the Midlands, Lincolnshire and East Anglia.
The report added that, of the 34 'major' slaughter houses, processing and cutting plants, 27 are in England.
However, the importance of Northern Irish plants relative to overall population was underscored.
Northern Ireland's poultry stock stood at 10.5 birds per capita, almost five times England's average - 2.2 birds per capita.
Northern Irish poultry stock density was over double the UK average of 658 birds per square kilometre at 1,396.
You can view the full report by clicking here.
Top image via Shutterstock