Foot-and-mouth disruption 'will cost UK £9bn'

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The Independent Online

The disruption brought to Britain by the foot-and-mouth outbreak will cost the economy an estimated £9 billion this year, it was suggested today.

The disruption brought to Britain by the foot-and-mouth outbreak will cost the economy an estimated £9 billion this year, it was suggested today.

The figure - the equivilant of 1.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) - covers the loss of earnings for farmers and suppliers, higher food prices and the impact on the tourism industry.

The estimates from the Centre for Economics and Business Research have increased more than threefold since the start of the month.

The centre also warned that the aftermath of the crisis would continue into next year, knocking another £2.1 billion from the GDP.

Assuming the rate of infection starts to diminish by the end of this month, the lost output for farmers and suppliers is thought to be £3.6 billion.

Domestic tourism will lose £2.7 billion, with the losses caused by fewer foreign visitors likely to be around £5.2 billion.

The figures are offset by income from more people buying foreign holidays and higher levels of spending on items other than tourism, such as DIY.

Paul Crawford, senior economist at the centre, believed one of the most startling findings was the lower income from fewer foreign visitors.

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